HYDERABAD: The long-range nuclear-capable, surface-to-surface Agni-III ballistic missile is scheduled to be launched on May 7 from the Integrated Test Range on Wheeler Island, off the Orissa coast.

This will be the third test of the missile having a range of more than 3,500 km. The first conducted on July 9, 2006 failed to meet the mission objectives, while the second trial held on April 12, 2007 ended in a roaring success.

Top DRDO sources told The Hindu on Sunday that the proposed launch would be a “validation test” for higher performance in terms of weight and payload capacity. Apart from new software for navigation and guidance controls to achieve better accuracy, an improved re-entry material would be tested.

High-temperature navigation antennae, developed specially for the system, are among other new features that the missile will carry on-board. “We need different materials since it will be flying at a much higher speed.”

The final integration checks on various systems and sub-systems of the missile are on at ITR and likely to be completed by Monday.