The next step is to provide canister-launch capability, says DRDO
The first of the six flight trials of India' longest range ballistic missile, Agni-V, in its final quick-reaction configuration, providing a canister-launch capability, will be held in early 2013.
While in Thursday's successful maiden flight, the three-stage missile blasted off from a rail mobile launcher at Wheeler Island, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has already made a lot of progress to meet the Army's requirement to provide a canister-based launch from a road mobile vehicle.
With the mission validating the design of Agni-V, the next step is to provide the canister-launch capability, Avinash Chander Chief Controller, R&D, (Missiles and Strategic Systems), DRDO, told The Hindu. Pointing out that canister-launch capability was already demonstrated for 700 km range Shourya missile and BrahMos cruise missile, he said “those technologies will get up-scaled.”
“With canister, you can virtually stop and launch.” Operational flexibility would increase multi-fold, reducing the reaction time, he added.
Missile ejection tests
Mr. Chander said the DRDO had set up a facility for “missile ejection tests” at Shamirpet near Hyderabad, for carrying out a canister-launch simulation by placing a dummy missile. The first road mobile launcher being produced by the private industry would be ready next month and the missile ejections tests would begin from June.
With the Agni-V missile scheduled to be inducted into the Army in the next few years, he said, six flight tests, including three pre-induction trials, would be conducted.
V.G. Sekaran, Director, Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), which designed and developed the missile, said Agni-V would be the workhorse in the years to come.
Referring to the successful launch, he said this was the first time that the maiden flight took place within three years of starting the design for any missile of the DRDO.
The ASL had developed the solid propulsion system, including the composite rocket motor casings for the second and third stages and the carbon-carbon composite heat shields for the missile's re-entry vehicle.
Stating that the DRDO would develop “intelligent” and “manoeuvring” warheads for futuristic missiles, Mr. Chander said: “You have to upgrade weapons. We can't afford to relax.”
The intelligent warheads would be capable of assessing the risk while in flight and take evasive counter-measures.
“Those are warheads of tomorrow and the work has to start today.”