India has successfully test-fired Agni-V (Agni-5) ballistic missile which is the most advanced version ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) in the series with a strike range of over 5,000km. It was the fifth test that was conducted from a test range off Odisha coast. The country also tested its Advanced Air Defence (AAD) supersonic interceptor missile recently.
The missile was test-fired at around 9:53 am from a canister launcher which was mounted on a mobile platform, from the launch pad No. 4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) located in Abdul Kalam Island, earlier known as Wheeler Island. Agni-V traveled for 19 minutes and covered a distance of 4,900km. The ICBM has further strengthened the defense system of the country.
All radars, tracking systems, and range stations monitored the flight performance and according to officials, the trial was fully successful. It was the first user associate test of Agni-5 missile which has further boosted its capabilities. It has been integrated with new and advanced navigation and guidance system, warhead, and engine.
“The onboard high-speed computer and fault tolerant software along with robust and reliable bus guided the missile flawlessly,” said a DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization) official. Agni-V is programmed in such manner that after reaching the peak of its trajectory it will turn towards the earth to hit the target with greater speed utilizing earth’s gravity.
The first two successful tests of the Agni-5 missile were conducted in 2012 and 2013 in open configuration while the remaining three tests including today’s test were conducted using a canister launcher mounted on a mobile platform in a deliverable configuration enabling the launch of the ICBM with a very less preparation time in comparison to other two tests in an open configuration. The canister launcher provides armed forces more flexibility by allowing them to quickly transport and fire the missile from anywhere they want.
To recall, the first test of Agni-V missile was conducted on April 19, 2012, followed by the second test on September 15, 2013, the third test on January 31, 2015, and the fourth test on December 26, 2016. All tests were conducted from the same base. Agni-V missile is 17-meter long and weighs 50 tonnes.
The tri-service SFC (Strategic Command Forces) will have to conduct more user-trials before its production starts for induction. India will join the club of countries such as United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom having ICBMs with a range of over 5,000km, as soon as the Agni-V is inducted.