It can carry a nuclear warhead weighing one tonne
Preparations are under way for the launch of India's intermediate range ballistic missile, Agni-II, from Wheeler Island, off Dhamra village on the Orissa coast, on Monday. The Strategic Forces Command of the Army, which handles nuclear weapons-delivery systems, will conduct the launch. Agni-II is already under production and the Army has deployed it. The two-stage missile can carry a nuclear warhead weighing one tonne. The missile has been designed and developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory at Hyderabad, an important missile complex, coming under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Asked whether there are any changes in Agni-II's configuration for this flight, DRDO officials said, “We cannot change anything because it is a proven configuration.”
It is a two-stage missile, with both the stages powered by solid propellants; it can be transported on rail tracks; it is 20 metres long, weighs 17 tonnes and can target places 2,500 km away.
The DRDO is aiming to launch its most powerful missile, Agni-V, in December 2011. It will be the maiden launch of the missile which has three stages. All of them use solid propellants as fuel. The missile will carry a nuclear warhead and it can target places more than 5,000 km away.
The DRDO has already successfully tested the engines of the three stages on the ground.