Friday, January 10, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Agni test-fired second time

New Delhi, January 9
Encouraged by the second flawless test-firing of the short-range variant of the nuclear-capable Agni ballastic missile today, India plans to carry out five more tests in the next few weeks before its induction.

The surface-to-surface missile, which can strike targets up to 800 km, was for the first time test-fired with a one- tonne payload proving the capability of the missile to carry tactical nuclear warheads, which are usually of that weight, highly placed Defence Ministry sources said here.

A Defence Ministry press note said the mission objectives of today’s launch was “fully met” as confirmed by the network of ground radars telemetry stations and visual observations from the intended impact point.

Lauding the scientists for the flawless mission, Defence Minister George Fernandes, who witnessed the test-firing in Chandipur-on-sea in Orissa, said it enhanced India’s capability in deployment of such surface-to-surface missile systems.

The sources said a series of seven developmental tests flights of the shorter range variant of Agni-I missile were planned and each would be carried out with a payload ranging between 1 and 3 tonnes.

Today’s launch comes a day after Pakistan inducted the HATF-V Ghauri missile.

India’s Agni-I which is solid fuelled, unlike Pakistan’s Liquid fuelled Ghauri, boasts a single-stage missile which scientists say validate some crucial technologies like guidance and telemetry systems.

Along with the shorter variant of Agni-I missile, India is also likely to carry out further tests of the joint Indo-Russian supersonic Brahmos missile as well as surface-to-air Akash and fourth-generation anti-tank NAG missiles.

Sources said the Army would carry out further configuration tests of the 150-300 km surface-to-surface Prithvi missile, which already has been inducted. PTI

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