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Agni-1 soars successfully

Y. Mallikarjun
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It can carry one tonne nuclear warhead across 700 km

Agni-1 being launched from the Wheeler Island, off the Odisha coast, on Wednesday.— Photo: DRDO
Agni-1 being launched from the Wheeler Island, off the Odisha coast, on Wednesday.— Photo: DRDO

Surface-to-surface, nuclear weapons capable Agni-1 missile was successfully test-fired for its full range of 700 km from the Wheeler Island, off the Odisha coast, on Wednesday.

The single-stage, solid fuel-propelled missile was fired at 8.15 a.m. from a road mobile launcher by personnel of the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) as part of regular user training. Senior Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) missile technologists, who supervised the entire operation, said the mission met all the objectives.

After a majestic lift-off, the missile followed the trajectory perfectly and splashed down near the intended target point in the Bay of Bengal with an accuracy of a few meters following a 10-minute flight. It was guided by on-board computers and navigated by the inertial navigation system.

Radars located along the east coast and the electro-optic tracking system tracked and monitored all the parameters in real time, while two naval ships were pressed into service during the terminal event.

The 12-metre-long missile can carry a nuclear warhead weighing one tonne to a distance of 700 km. It was developed in 15 months by the DRDO after the defence services perceived the need for such a missile following the Kargil conflict. The missile has already been inducted into the Army.

Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister V.K. Saraswat, along with the top brass of SFC, witnessed the launch.

The operations were monitored by Programme Director, Agni-1, Dr. J. Chattopadhyay, and a team of scientists from DRDO. Avinash Chander, Chief Controller (Missiles and Strategic Systems), guided the SFC and DRDO teams. Mr. V.G. Sekaran, Director, Advanced Systems Laboratory and Mr. M.V.K.V. Prasad, Director, Integrated Test Range,were present during the launch.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony congratulated DRDO scientists and SFC on the success of the mission.


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