Flush with the successful flight of surface-to-surface missile Agni-1 on Thursday , the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is preparing to launch Agni-II +, “a totally new missile,” before December 10.
The launch will take place from the Wheeler Island, off the Orissa coast, and preparations for it will begin in a few days.
The Agni-II + is a surface-to-surface missile that can carry nuclear warheads. It can strike targets 2,500 km to 3,000 km away. It is an intermediary between Agni-II and Agni-III. While Agni-II has a range of 2,500 km, Agni-III can home in on targets 3,500 km way.
Agni-II + will add teeth to the country's nuclear deterrence. It has two stages and both are powered by solid propellants. It can be transported by both rail and road.
In the coming weeks, the DRDO plans to launch an interceptor missile as part of its efforts to establish a ballistic missile shield. “We will soon launch an interceptor from the Wheeler Island, which will intercept a ballistic missile launched from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Orissa,” a DRDO official said.
The interception would take place at an altitude of 15 km in what is called endo-atmosphere. The missile from Chandipur would mimic the trajectory of a ballistic missile launched from an enemy-country.
“We are trying to attempt a very different trajectory [from the earlier interceptor missions]. When the enemy missile is coming down in its trajectory, it will try to dodge the interceptor missile. The interceptor should be able to take care of this and still hit it,” the official said adding the interceptor would be a single-stage supersonic missile, called Advanced Air Defence. The attacker would be a modified Prithvi missile.
Prithvi-II launch soon
The coming weeks will see the launch of Prithvi-II, which had inducted into the Services. It can carry nuclear warheads.
“We are working on Agni-V for its maiden launch in 2011. It will be the flagship missile of the DRDO,” said a DRDO missile technologist. “The missile will have a range of 5,000 km. Agni-III will form the building block for Agni-V.”
With the addition of a third upper stage and some minor modifications, the two-stage Agni-III would transform into an awesome three-stage Agni-V. All the three stages would use solid propellants as fuel.
Sources in the DRDO said the production of submarine-launched K-15 missile was in full swing. The missile had been renamed B-05. After the launch, the missile would go up to an altitude of 20 km in a parabola and then travel 700 km to attack enemy assets. India's nuclear-powered submarine named “Arihant” would be armed with these missiles.