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N-capable Agni-III testfired

Bhadrak (Orissa), February 7
India today successfully tested its indigenous nuclear-capable Agni-III missile with a range of over 3,000-km, consolidating the country's position among a select group of nations that have intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM)-capability, defence sources said.

The missile, which is capable of carrying warheads weighing up to 1.5 tonnes, was tested from the Inner Wheeler Island at Dhamra, a launch site in Bhadrak district, about 200 km from Orissa capital Bhubaneswar, at 10.46 a.m.

This is the fourth test of the country's most powerful missile which has the capability to hit deep inside China, bringing cities like Shanghai and Beijing within its potent reach.

"The test was highly successful. It met all the mission objectives. All the events took place as expected" S.P. Dash, director of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) said from the site after the test.

The Agni III missile is set for induction in the armed forces. The Sunday test was its last trial, the official said.

The first test, from the same defence base on July 9, 2006, was unsuccessful. The second stage of the rocket had failed to separate from the missile quickly enough and the missile had fallen short of its target.

The DRDO-developed missile was tested again on April 12, 2007, and May 9, 2008, respectively and both the tests were successful.

Agni-III, one of the Agni series missiles, is a two-stage solid propellant missile with a length of 17 mt, diameter 2 mt and launch weight of 50 tonnes.

While Agni-I is a 750-800 km short-range missile, Agni-II has a range of more than 1,500 km. Both have already been inducted into the armed forces.

Defence Minister AK Antony termed the test of Agni-III as a remarkable achievement and congratulated DRDO chief V.K. Saraswat and other scientists for making it a success.

More than a hundred defence scientists witnessed the Sunday. They included V.K. Saraswat, director general of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), and Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and Avinash Chandra, director of the Agni-III programme. IANS

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