India successfully test-fired the 2,000-km range Agni II ballistic missile on Saturday. According to the information, this test was conducted at night. This was India’s first test-fire of any missile at night. The strategic forces command conducted the test on the Balasore coast of Odisha.
Shortly after testing the missile from a mobile launcher at Launch Complex 4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR), sources said that the missile had the capability to strike up to a range of 2,000 km.
Intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) Agni II has already been inducted into the armed forces. An Indian Army official confirmed that for the first time the state-of-the-art missile was tested at night.
DRDO sources said the entire trajectory of the missile on test was monitored with state-of-the-art radars, telemetry monitoring centres, electro-optic equipment and two naval vessels. Sources said that the launch weight of the 20-m long two-level ballistic missile is 17 tonnes and it can carry a payload of 1,000 kg for a distance of 2,000 km.
Defence officials said the two-level missile was equipped with modern precision navigational systems. Agni II was developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory in cooperation with other DRDO laboratories.
The Agni II missile is capable of hitting from surface to surface. The two-stage missile operates on solid fuel and a post-boost vehicle (PBV) integrated into the missile’s re-entry vehicle (RV). This missile is designed by DRDO.
The Agni’s manoeuvring RV is made of a carbon-carbon composite material that is light and able to sustain high thermal stresses of re-entry, in a variety of trajectories. The Agni-IIA is a more advanced version of Agni-II, albeit with more sophisticated and lighter materials, yielding a better range and operating regime. Agni-IIA was later renamed as Agni-IV plugging the gap between Agni-II and Agni-III.
The Agni-II was first tested on 11 April 1999 at 9:47 AM from a converted rail carriage, with a carriage roof that slides open to allow the missile to be raised to the vertical for launch by two large hydraulic pistons. The launch process is controlled from a separate railcar. The missile was launched from the IC-4 pad at Wheeler Island, Balasore. Splashdown was 2,000 – 2,100 km. downrange in the Bay of Bengal, on a trajectory designed to simulate a range of 2,800 – 3,000 km. The Agni-II missile can also be launched from a road TEL vehicle, as demonstrated in the second test flight on 17 January 2001 at 10:01 AM to a range of 2,100 km. This missile has a theoretical maximum range of some 3,000 km with a 1,000 kg payload (conventional or strategic).
India also has Agni V that made the country join the club of nations with intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). While the DRDO claims that this missile has a range of 5000 km, it might be also possible that the range is even higher.