India test-fired the nuclear weapon-capable Agni-II ballistic missile for its full strike range of 2,000 km from Wheeler Island off the Odisha Coast around 9.40 a.m. on Sunday. Personnel of the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) fired the surface-to-surface missile from a mobile launcher. The 20-metre-tall Agni-II zoomed to an altitude of 600 km and began its descent before splashing near its pre-designated impact point in the Bay of Bengal with “two-digit accuracy.”
A battery of sophisticated radars, electro-optical systems and telemetry stations along the east coast tracked the trajectory and monitored various parameters of the missile from the launch till the terminal phase during the 14-minute flight. Two downrange ships recorded the final event as the dummy warhead detonated.
The exercise was carried out as regular user training under the supervision of missile scientists from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which designed and developed the weapon system. The two-stage missile has been inducted for military use and can carry a one-tonne payload.
V.G. Sekaran, Director-General, DRDO (Missiles and Strategic Systems); M.V.K.V. Prasad, Director of Integrated Test Range; Lakshminarayana, Project Director; senior DRDO scientists; and Army officials were present.
Talking to The Hindu later, a top DRDO official lauded the SFC team for displaying clockwork precision. “This gives lot of confidence in a combat kind of situation,” he said.
Terming Agni-II a workhorse, the official said the overall mission objectives were met precisely. The navigation, guidance and control aspects of this class of missile were proven once again.
“It is an achievement by itself. Demonstrating it repeatedly gives a lot of confidence,” he said.