India on Saturday conducted successfully the first night trial of ‘Agni-II’, its versatile surface-to-surface medium range nuclear capable missile from Dr Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast, defence sources said.
The missile has a strike range of 2000 km, the sources said soon after it blasted off from a mobile launcher at the Launch Complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR), the sources said.
‘Agni-II’, an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) has already been inducted into the armed forces.
A defence official said this was the first time that the sophisticated missile was testfired at night.
The entire trajectory of the trial was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations, electro-optic instruments and two naval ships located near the impact point in the down range area of Bay of Bengal, DRDO sources said.
The 20-metre long two stage ballistic missile has a launch weight of 17 tonnes and can carry a payload of 1000 kg over a distance of 2000 km, the sources said.
The two stage missile equipped with advanced high accuracy navigation system, was guided by a novel state-of-the-art command and control system and propelled by solid rocket propellant system, the Defence official said.
The 2000 plus km range surface to surface missile has already been inducted and is part of countries arsenal for strategic deterrence. It was launched as a regular exercise undertaken by the armed forces, he said.
Saturdays test was carried out by the specially formed Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Army with logistic support from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
‘Agni-II’ was developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory along with other DRDO laboratories and integrated by the Bharat Dynamics Limited, Hyderabad, the sources said.
‘Agni-11′ is part of the Agni series of missiles which includes Agni-I with a 700 km range, Agni-III with a 3,000 km range, Agni-IV and Agni-V both having long range capabilities.
The first testfiring of the proto type of Agni-II missile was carried out on April 11, 1999. On May 17 2010, the trial of nuclear-capable Agni-II ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km was conducted by the Special Strategic Command Force (SSCF) from the ITR before it was made operational by the Army.
The last trial was conducted on February 20, 2018 from the same base.