In the fifth consecutive success of its flight trial, nuclear weapons capable Agni-III surface-to-surface ballistic missile was test-fired for its full range of a little over 3,000 km from the Wheeler Island, off the Odisha coast on Monday.
The entire mission was carried out by the personnel of Strategic Forces Command (SFC) as part of regular user training. This was the sixth trial of Agni-III and the fifth successful mission in a row with two of them conducted by the users.
The two-stage, solid propelled missile took off from a rail mobile launcher at 5 pm, nearly three minutes after the command for the auto-launch was given. After a flight time of about 800 seconds, the missile carrying a dummy payload impacted the pre-designated target point more than 3,000 km away in the Bay of Bengal with an accuracy of about 100 metres, missile technologists involved in the mission said.
The performance of the17-metre tall missile was tracked in real time by radars along the East Coast as also telemetry stations and electo-optical network. Two down range ships near the impact point recorded the terminal event as the re-entry vehicle splashed down into the sea. The vehicle withstood searing temperatures of 3,000 degrees Celsius when it re-entered the atmosphere after reaching an altitude 380 km.
The 17-metre tall missile can carry a payload of 1.5 tons to a distance of 3,000 km. It is equipped with an indigenously developed gyro-based navigation system which guides the missile all through the flight to ensure a high degree of accuracy.