Indian Army Successfully Test Fires Ballistic Missile Agni-IV

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Indian army successfully test-fired  4,000-km range nuclear weapons-capable strategic missile, Agni-IV from the A P J Abdul Kalam Island (formerly Wheeler Island) off Odisha coast. Prior to this Agni-IV had undergone one failed and four successful tests over the last five years, with the last one being conducted in December 2014. The Army’s Strategic Forces Command, which is entrusted with the task of handling strategic weapons, launched the missile at 9.45 a.m. from a road-mobile launcher.

This was sixth test of the missile. It was first tested on December 10, 2010 which had failed while its second, third, fourth and fifth tests on November 15, 2011, September 19, 2012, January 20 and December 2, last year were successful.

All the radar stations, telemetry and electro-optical systems along the East Coast monitored the performance of the missile during the entire operation. After accelerating to a height of about 600 km,  the re-entry vehicle with a dummy payload withstood scorching temperatures as it re-entered the atmosphere and splashed down near the pre-designated area in the Bay of Bengal.

Facts about Agni IV:-

  • The re-entry heat shield made of carbon composite material withstood temperatures in the range of 4000 degree centigrade and made sure the avionics function normally with inside temperature remaining less than 50 degree centigrade. The two-stage solid propelled missile is 20 meter tall and weighs around 17 tonne. It can carry warhead upto one tonne.
  • The two-stage solid-propelled, surface-to-surface ballistic missile is designed to carry a one-tonne payload to a distance of 4,000 km. Advanced ring laser gyro-based Inertial Navigation system and Micro Inertial Navigation System in redundant mode guided the missile to reach its pre-designated target area.

The country's most formidable missile, the over 5,000-km Agni-V, in turn is slated to be tested in January-February. While the Agni-I (700-km), Agni-II (2,000-km) and Agni-III (3,000-km) have already been inducted by SFC, the Agni-IV and Agni-V are currently undergoing developmental and user trials before their induction can take place in another two to three years.

Range of Agni series missiles :-

  1. Agni-I         700 – 1,250 km (Operational)
  2. Agni-II        2,000 – 3,000 km (Operational)
  3. Agni-III       3,500 – 5,000 km (Operational)
  4. Agni-IV       3,000 – 4,000  km(Operational)
  5. Agni-V        5,000 – 8,000 km(Testing)
  6. Agni-VI       8,000 – 10,000 km (Under development)
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