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Updated: November 17, 2011 12:06 IST

Agni-IV test-flight a ‘stupendous success'

T.S. Subramanian
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The Agni-IV missile lifts off majestically from a road-mobile launcher on Wheeler Island, off the coast of Orissa. V.K. Saraswat, Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister and DRDO Director-General, said this
The Hindu The Agni-IV missile lifts off majestically from a road-mobile launcher on Wheeler Island, off the coast of Orissa. V.K. Saraswat, Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister and DRDO Director-General, said this "stupendous mission" incorporated a host of indigenous technologies. Photo: Special Arrangement

The test-flight of Agni-IV, India's most advanced long-range missile was “a stupendous success” on Tuesday, with the missile covering a range of more than 3,000 km in 20 minutes of fluent flight.

This was the longest range mission flown by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) so far. Agni-IV, capable of carrying nuclear warheads, was earlier called Agni-II Prime. The first flight of Agni-II Prime in December 2010 was a failure.

As the Sun shone on the tiny Wheeler Island, off the Odisha coast, Agni-IV lifted off majestically at 9 a.m. from a specially designed truck, accelerated to a height of 900 km, sliced across a distance of 3,000 km and accurately reached the targeted area in the Bay of Bengal. As it plunged into the atmosphere, its re-entry systems withstood a searing 3,000 degrees Celsius. Several radars and electro-optical systems along the Odisha coast tracked the vehicle.

The two-stage Agni-IV, which weighs 17 tonnes and is 20 metres long, carried an 800-kg payload of conventional explosives. However, it is designed to carry a 1,000-kg payload.

In this mission, the DRDO used a host of new technologies for the first time. Agni-IV “has opened a new era” for India in the class of long-range missiles to carry strategic [nuclear] warheads for the armed forces and “provides a fantastic deterrence,” DRDO missile technologists asserted. “Strategically, it can cover the whole area on the other side of the border [China],” they explained.

V.K. Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, called it “one of the most stupendous missions.”

The launch had put India in “a different league” because “the kind of technologies we used in this flight are different from those we had developed in the 1980s and 1990s.”

Dr. Saraswat, who is also the DRDO Director-General, said: “I will say that India does not need any foreign assistance for surface-to-surface missiles of this class.”

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Why is it always fashionable to flog the term "Nuclear capable"? A nuclear weapon is just a payload to the delivery vehicle. If the weight of the nuclear payload is within the load limit of the vehicle, it will be nuclear capable. Even a bullock cart is nuclear capable, because triggering the nuclear weapon is not a function of the delivery vehicle anyway. This missile may be highly capable, but its capabilities are not one bit modified in order to make it "nuclear capable". It does not make any difference to the missile whether it is carrying a nuclear payload or a load of stones. Let us stop adding that bit of spice to what should purely be news about an improvement in India's missile and delivery systems. In this context, it may indeed, be more prudent to talk about carrying out surgical strikes at great distances, with accuracy using conventional weapons.

from:  B S Kumar
Posted on: Nov 17, 2011 at 11:52 IST

This is indeed a very uplifting news! Congratulations! I wish our politicians were as devoted to their country as these scientists are.

from:  Anonymous
Posted on: Nov 17, 2011 at 06:36 IST

Congratulations to the DRDO team (Scientists, Engineers, Technicians and others). May i request that the Hindu conduct an interview of Dr. Tessy Thomas the Project Director for Agni missiles so that young boys and girls may look to her as a role model rather than just actors of both sexes as they do now. Now looking forward to the successful launch of Agni V soon.

from:  Jayant M
Posted on: Nov 16, 2011 at 20:31 IST

This success is of great significance. Congratulations to the team that made it possible

from:  K.N.S.Rao
Posted on: Nov 16, 2011 at 20:10 IST

This is it! Now eagerly waiting for the Agni V test. That will be a close to a ICBM with MIRV technology. India also needs to step up research and investment in missile defense. Nuclear stockpile also needs to be augmented to maintain a second strike capability. And of course all eyes are focused on the ATV submarine project as it will have SSBN capability.

from:  Prajnan Das
Posted on: Nov 16, 2011 at 20:11 IST

Congrats to our defense scientists for achieving this remarkable milestone. Now India need to concentrate on the development of the ICBM Agni-5. What is required is for India to develop such high quality and technology advanced missiles like the Agni and the "K" family of missiles that will act as active deterrence against any adventurous countries who may try to have any hostile intentions against India.

from:  Manoj Ambat
Posted on: Nov 16, 2011 at 18:38 IST

Congrats DRDO....you are making india proud..keep it up and bring more and more technologically advanced weaponry.

from:  Ratish Ravindran
Posted on: Nov 16, 2011 at 18:10 IST

Many times i wonder how US and Russia could develop such verstile missiles in such short time from 1983 to 2011 we dont have a single missile to cover entire china(a friend and enemy both).But anyhow, achivement is achivement.... long live drdo and its team. Agni IV is futuristic but make is operational as soon as possible.

from:  G K Singh
Posted on: Nov 16, 2011 at 17:09 IST

What a marvelous effort yet again made by the DRDO! Congrats and bravo to all the team members.

from:  Jacob Hlychho
Posted on: Nov 16, 2011 at 15:45 IST

CONGRATULATIONS INDIA! As compared to many other countries I think India has limited budget for such kind of programs but Our scientists did a Tremendous job..and My heartiest congratulations to them..just keep an eye what other are doing and give your best...I am with you even whole India is with you..

from:  ks.Lalotra
Posted on: Nov 16, 2011 at 13:58 IST

Excellent stuff DRDO does it again. Congratulations India

from:  Sumit
Posted on: Nov 16, 2011 at 13:31 IST

Congratulations to the DRDO team.. They r working hard to make our country safer..

from:  Chhavi
Posted on: Nov 16, 2011 at 11:28 IST

Congratulations! to DRDO team for successfully launching the Agni-IV. We Indians are very much proud of the workers of DRDO, who are so much dedicated to their work. Now ! its time to launch Agni-V, and strengthen our nation with rigidity....and make us even more proud .. My best wishes are with the workers at every moment...!

from:  Santanu Chandra Das
Posted on: Nov 16, 2011 at 09:39 IST

Marvelous achievement in Indian history launching Agni-2 testfired it reached acme of our country.Thanks to DRDO for launching this missile.

from:  shyam nandan kumar
Posted on: Nov 16, 2011 at 09:10 IST

I am an Engineer and I never believe the claims of our scientists and politiciens easily knowing well their constraints.There is not much to be proud of in terms of missiles capability unless we master the technology of cryogenic engines essential for very long distance strike capability or ICBMs where we face repeated failures even though we had the imported engines in our hands.While China achieved great milestones in nuclear and space technology by reverse engineering,we could not achieve the same though we had more significant number of people working everywhere.Tii we master ICBMs we can't challenge China's aggressive postures. That is the reason why our politicians dare not speak one word against China as Pakistan does against us.

from:  Nagarajan
Posted on: Nov 16, 2011 at 08:09 IST

It was interesting to note that there was not a single comment reflecting on the nation's priorities. Should developing advanced missiles be close to the top of that list when the nation has the largest number of multidimensionally poor people? It is easier to provoke nationalistic feelings by developing missiles, but much harder to raise the life expectancy for every citizen, reduce maternal mortality, provide adequate sanitation, etc.

from:  astitva
Posted on: Nov 16, 2011 at 04:15 IST

Great achievement for India. Congratulations to DRDO. And thank you DRDO for such a wonderful news at a time when we read all bad news anywhere. We must move fast and do more on defence, stealth aircraft, submarines, our own tanks, guns, ICBM and intelligence applications. We are proud of you, Congratulation.

from:  D. K. Shishodiya
Posted on: Nov 16, 2011 at 03:20 IST

Great feat achieved by DRDO again... Congratulations. We are sure that DRDO and ISRO has the capacity to develop (IN House) fighter aircrafts and all the amenities we need to be a stronger nation. Government should rethink, Invest and strengthen the team.. we are not short of expertise, manpower, material, funds etc... we are just lacking political will to develop inhouse... so many young talented patriotic engineering pool we have.. please use them...

from:  sudhakar
Posted on: Nov 16, 2011 at 02:03 IST

Congratulations and thanks. Please keep enthusing confidence in we Indians like this. Self sufficienty was the key and will be key in future.

from:  Avinash Baranwal
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 22:06 IST

COngratualtions to the team scientist who had worked in this project. I totally agree with bhassi that we need to go miles from here to achieve the bigger goals which would keep our country safe.We need more ...C'mmon Engineers/Scientists Charge up !!

from:  Veeramani
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 21:56 IST

Congratulations to the Core group who worked on this project.

from:  Ankur
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 21:36 IST

Good job done i hope DRDO will come with flying colours in every stream of defence and make india as a strong and proud nation jai hind

from:  Shashikanth reddy
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 21:30 IST

Congratulations to DRDO team...India has to compete with China in ICBM missiles.....

from:  Social Parivar
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 21:14 IST

Great. Congratulations to scientists.

from:  Venkata
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 20:55 IST

It is another mile stone in the achievements of DRDO. Go ahead for Agni V which will have capability to hit deep in china, which is only country in south east region which is challenging the sovereignty of our country.

from:  Sudeep Sharma
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 20:10 IST

Congrats to all DRDO people for the future progress of ICBM Technology.

from:  KGB
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 19:36 IST

Well done india.I really feel proud making India stronger.Other way we are increasing our misiles, that means we are going to use some or other way to destroy.

from:  sreenivasreddyk
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 18:57 IST

Country should give high priority to Defence, research and streaghtening our defence . Congradulation . Congradulation

from:  Vishwanatha N
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 17:22 IST

Congratulation to our DRDO team for the consecutive successful missile
testing. Also, thanks to the highly intellectual team who involved in
the programme of establishment of agni prime, agni series and prahar.

from:  MANMOHAN SINGH
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 17:11 IST

Congratulations to all the Scientist for making us proud again.....but we want more...ICBM ...Best of luck for ICBM

from:  Madhu Ranjan
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 17:11 IST

Bravo!
Congratulations to the DRDO team for this landmark test.
However, we are still lagging behind in missile technology. A mere 3000km range is just like stone-age weapons when compared to 25000km+ range missiles owned by a few countries including but not limited to our hostile neighbor China! I'm afraid that 3000km Agni IV won't be able to cross even the plateau of Tibet if circumstances ask so. On the other hand India is within the strike range of Chinese missiles upto Dhanuskodi down south of India.
Sometime I wonder why we are not able to achieve the milestones in missile technology comparable to what we have in satellite launch technology. If we can put a satellite 36000km up vertically in geosynchronous orbit in the space with tons of weight, why can't we develop a missile which could travel around the would mostly in vertical direction and probably helped by gravity unlike satellite launches where we have to defy the earth's pull?

from:  bhassi
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 17:11 IST

I congratulate ALL missile scientists at DRDO. Well done DRDO.

from:  Arvindan Rajgopalan
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 14:53 IST

Well done Scientists.

from:  gopalkrishnan
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 14:39 IST

Well done Scientists. Maintain the record.

from:  gopalkrishnan
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 14:39 IST

Congrats to all the people involve in the succesful test of Agni-IV and wish the smae for future test. Also to make people of india more secure and proud.

from:  Pankaj V. Dudulwar
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 14:06 IST

Congrats to all scientist and Indians. I hope soon India is able to develop indigenously its ICBM and 5th generation Aircrafts and Airborn
early warning system. Its not a big deal, its only require money and
more political attention. I hope Our political leadears will wake up and
also concentrate on our defense.

from:  Manjul
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 13:42 IST

well done india...we are proud of our eminent scientist who are working hard to make india more safer than ever before.

from:  vivek
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 13:29 IST

DRDO is right on track and we all congratulate with all our heart. Now please test agni-V and make all of us even prouder. Go India.

from:  Mukund Srinivasan
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 13:24 IST

Hail the DRDO efforts to develop ballistic missile deterrence. This brings most of the Asian countries in the range and need to focus on accuracy and reducing the missile weight to make it more portable. Agni-4 and Agni-5 are real game changers.

from:  Chandu Adapala
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 13:11 IST

Congratualtions to our missile scientists and all those involved in the project. This will improve our striking power our armed forced and help in achieving self reliance of weapons.

from:  K. Arulselvan
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 12:10 IST
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