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Updated: September 30, 2011 23:23 IST

Agni-II soars in success

    T.S. Subramanian
    Y. Mallikarjun
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The strategic Agni-II missile, which can carry nuclear warheads, soaring into the sky from a rail-mobile launcher on the Wheeler Island, off the Orissa coast on Friday. Photo: DRDO
The strategic Agni-II missile, which can carry nuclear warheads, soaring into the sky from a rail-mobile launcher on the Wheeler Island, off the Orissa coast on Friday. Photo: DRDO

The launch of Agni-II was a big success on Friday, with the missile traversing 2000 km across the sky in nine minutes of flawless mission. The missile rose from a launcher on a railway track at 9.30 a.m. from the Wheeler Island on the Orissa coast, raced to a height of 220 km, cut an arc of 2000 km, re-entered the earth's atmosphere and impacted on the targeted area in the Bay of Bengal with an accuracy of some metres.

The missile, which can carry a one-tonne nuclear warhead, performed a manoeuvre as it plunged into the atmosphere amidst a searing temperature of 3,000 degrees' Celsius. The two-stages of the surface-to-surface missile worked with precision. . The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the armed forces, which handles nuclear-weapons delivery systems, conducted the launch. The missile weighs 17 tonnes and is 20 metres long

“It was a dream launch,” V.K. Saraswat, Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, told The Hindu from the Wheeler Island, off the Orissa coast. “This kind of launch takes place only once in a while,” he said.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) designed and developed Agni-II. It calls the missile “the pride of India's strategic arsenal.”

This was the third successful missile launch in seven days for the DRDO. The Agni-II triumph caps the successful missions of Shourya and Prithvi-II from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Orissa, on September 24 and 26.

Friday's success has boosted the confidence of the DRDO missile technologists in the Agni system because two earlier flights of Agni-II and another of Agni-II Prime had failed. The failures were attributed to problems in the control system in the missiles' first stage.

All the milestones in the Agni-II mission such as the lift-off, the vehicle gaining velocity, the flight's terminal events, the trajectory profile and the detonation of the warhead [chemical explosives in this case] took place in a copybook fashion, said Dr. Saraswat, who himself is a missile technologist.

The missile's control systems, global positioning system and advanced navigation system, guided by a novel scheme of earth command and control system, performed with precision, guiding the missile to the impact point in the sea. “Our ground systems, the rail-mobile launcher, the Launch Control Centre and the computerised control software worked beautifully,” the DRDO Director-General said.

In Dr. Saraswat's assessment, the three missile triumphs in seven days were “milestones” in the history of the DRDO's missile programme. They demonstrated its capability to develop missiles of various ranges and its possession of technology to meet any threat profile.

“These three outstanding successes” were a sign of India's maturity in missile technology. Prithvi-II had become “a workhorse”, with its being flight-tested about 70 times. Agni-II was also a robust missile, he added.

Avinash Chander, Chief Controller (Missiles and Strategic Systems), DRDO, said the control-related problem that led to the earlier failures were overcome by taking a number of steps focussing on quality. A specialist, dedicated agency went into quality at every stage.

“We took a number of steps to streamline the quality process and everything was checked,” he said. Agni-II's re-entry worked perfectly. Mr. Chander called it “a manoeuvring re-entry vehicle.”

V.G. Sekaran, Director, Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) in Hyderabad, who described it as a text-book launch, appreciated the SFC launching the missile on its own. The ASL, a DRDO missile facility, developed Agni-II.

The users of Agni-II were happy that its control-related problem had been solved. It was a small problem. The users need not worry about its reliability and capability. “We always knew that Agni-II was a good missile,” Dr. Sekaran said.

D. Lakshminarayana, Agni-II Project Director, was in charge of the activities on the Wheeler Island, which led to the successful launch.

Those present during the launch included Air Marshal K.J. Mathews and S.P. Dash, ITR Director.

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Congratulations to the DRDO team. They done a marvalous job. The 100 to 1000 kms range fire and forget multi platform missiles should be designed to help the Army to use it in a short while will help them for the forward moving fighters during war. The solid fuel based missliles will be better to keep it ready in long term survavilability.

from:  Kanagasubramanian
Posted on: Oct 3, 2011 at 10:29 IST

Congrats to great team of scientists of DRDO. We do need these weapons and delivery systems along with basic necessities of education and food for the people of India. Because strength respects strength.

from:  Omkar
Posted on: Oct 3, 2011 at 10:00 IST

It is nice to hear this. but we are forgetting that the most powerful weapon we are having is peace, hope so peace will not get disturbed. hope to have developed country as well as developed nation.

Posted on: Oct 3, 2011 at 03:51 IST

Congratulations DRDO!!! 3 missiles tested in 7 days.. a great achievement.. well DRDO, now focus on ICBM because India doesn't have an ICBM till now...

Posted on: Oct 3, 2011 at 01:16 IST

Congratulations to DRDO efforts and wish u all the best for future tests.
jai hind.

from:  prashanth
Posted on: Oct 2, 2011 at 16:52 IST

We have the knowledge and cutting edge technologies to compete with our neighbours

from:  Keerthivasan N
Posted on: Oct 2, 2011 at 00:57 IST

Hats off to the entire missile team...

from:  Nagarjun R
Posted on: Oct 1, 2011 at 19:12 IST

Congratulations to the team. More committed and dedicated efforts is always honored. Proud of DRDO.

from:  Dhananjaya B L
Posted on: Oct 1, 2011 at 12:52 IST

Congratulation to the entire scientific community behind this success. May DRDO encourage more youngsters and allow functional freedom to them. With that India can be self sufficient and face all the challenges from our greedy neighbours!

from:  Viswanath C
Posted on: Oct 1, 2011 at 12:15 IST

Gr8 news..Durga puja starts from this day itself. Durga is my mother, India is also my mother, by testing these missiles actually we are strengthening our mother, good way to welcome mother. BTW,I am still disappointed with the way we are testing our missiles, ie; specially annoyed with the delay related to tests. We all should know that when we plan to have a missile according to the circumstances, we actually get it operational by the military after 12 years from that and by then the scenario looks different or demands something xtra.

from:  John
Posted on: Oct 1, 2011 at 12:10 IST

How beautiful it is to see India's defence methods becoming so sofisticated. Thank you all.

from:  Vinod
Posted on: Oct 1, 2011 at 10:57 IST

congratulations DRDO....

from:  vishal
Posted on: Oct 1, 2011 at 09:00 IST

Why are we continually investing money in a nuclear defense program? Why not update the technology once in three-five years and use the budget towards providing education and basic necessities to the impoverished? What looming threat of war do we face that we need to blow such mighty horns and let the world know that we are capable of slinging a tonne of nuclear material across 2000kms?
Maintaining armed forces to protect our country is one thing and developing missiles with the sole intent of carrying nuclear warheads and mass destruction is another.

from:  Karthik
Posted on: Oct 1, 2011 at 03:03 IST

Congratulations to the entire team at DRDO for this successful test.This was one good and a different news after a long time. Otherrwise one hears about nothing else but corruption.

from:  Dr. Raj Behl
Posted on: Oct 1, 2011 at 01:53 IST
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