After two failures in a row, a flight test of Agni-II, nuclear weapon capable intermediate range surface-to-surface missile, is scheduled to be conducted from the Wheeler's Island off the Orissa coast on May 17.

A team from the Strategic Forces Command will conduct the “user trial” of the 2,000 km plus range weapon system.

It will be picked up randomly from the production lot since the missile has already been inducted.

Defence Research and Development Organisation officials told The Hindu that the test was meant to re-establish confidence and confirm the missile's readiness in the wake of two failed flight tests in May and November last year.

On both the occasions, Agni-II tumbled into the sea after losing its speed and deviating from its flight path, just before the separation of the second stage of the missile. The two trials were carried out by Strategic Forces Command personnel as part of user training exercise.

The officials attributed the failure during the previous tests to “quality-related problems” and said there was “no fundamental flaw” with the design.

With the successful test-firing of the 3,500-km plus range Agni-III in February and the 700-km range Agni-I in March this year, this would be the first time that all the three Agni class of missiles will be tested in such a short time.

The two-stage solid-propelled, Agni-II is 21 metres tall and capable of carrying a payload of one tonne to a distance of 2,000 km.

It has a special navigation system to improve accuracy and a manoeuvring re-entry vehicle enabling it to change course during re-entry.

It is also equipped with anti-ballistic missile defence counter measures.

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