The first night trial of the nuclear-capable Agni-II ended in a failure on Monday night with the missile not achieving the mission objectives.
The 2,000 km range Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) fired from a mobile platform at 7.55 pm from Wheeler Island, off the Orissa Coast, tumbled into the sea after the first stage. The operation was carried out by the personnel of the Strategic Forces Command of the Army as part conducting user trials.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) sources told The Hindu that some malfunction occurred after 60 seconds when the missile reached up to an altitude of 20 kms following which it nosedived. The fact that the first stage, a replica of the SLV-3 (first stage), functioned well showed it was robust. “Something went wrong after the first stage”, the sources added.
A few seconds of malfunctioning, probably in the control system, had affected the normal thrust and resulted in the missile losing its speed. The snag resulted in the high dynamic vehicle becoming uncontrollable subsequently. The problem might have occurred either during separation or ignition of the second stage.
DRDO constituted a special team to analyse the cause of failure. It might take at least 10 days to pinpoint the actual cause and come to a definite conclusion.
This is setback to DRDO as two flights of Agni-II failed in a row. The missile launched in May this year ended up without reaching the full distance after facing a similar problem during the second stage.
The two-stage solid fuelled Agni-II is 21-metres tall and has a thrust phase of 110 seconds. It is capable of carrying a payload of one tonne to a distance of 2,000 km. The weapon system had already been deployed and Monday’s one was picked randomly from a clutch of missiles.