Agni-V launch to put India in big league

DRDO to test-fire missile in Feb

Buoyed by the successful testing of the 3,500-km range Agni-IV on Tuesday, V K Saraswat, director-general of Defence Research and Development Organisation said the much awaited Agni-V would be tested in February, 2012.

If successful, the test would pave the way for India to have its own intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to launch missile strikes deep inside Chinese territory, if the need arises. Typically ICBMs have range of 5,500 km and above.

“Agni-V is presently undergoing integration and we may test fire it by the end of February next year. It is right on schedule and the successful test of Agni-IV will prove to be a building block in development of this missile,” Saraswat said.

Only the US, Russia and China are known to have ICBM while Israel is suspected to have also developed one. The latest Chinese ICBM Deng-Fong 31 reportedly has many advanced features of Russian ICBM.

Asserting that Agni-IV fared well when compared against DF-31, Saraswat said the DRDO would use the same electronic package in developing the 5000 km range version.

Critical technologies like ring laser gyros for navigation and accuracy, composite rocket motor, on-board computer with distributed avionics architecture and a full digital control system which controlled and guided the missile during its 20-minute flight to the target were developed indigenously, he said.

Previous versions like Agni-II with a range of 2,500 km and Agni-III with range of 3,000 km plus are in the process of being inducted in the Army whereas Agni-I is being used by the Strategic Forces Command of the Army.

The 20 tonnes Agni-IV is lighter than earlier generations of Agni-II and Agni-III (both are about 48 tonnes), which gives more operational freedom to the Army. It is also road-mobile unlike the previous generations, which are rail-mobile.

The latest gyro system does not require maintenance as compared to the mechanical system in Agni-II which needs calibration after every six months or a year, he said.

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