Arrangements are under way for test-firings of three Indian nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, including the inaugural flight of the nation's long-range Agni 5, the New Indian Express reported on Thursday (see GSN, April 2).
The test launches of the Agni 1, 2 and 5 missiles are to take place at different points between April 18 and 25 from the Wheeler Island installation. An Indian defense official said the three launches would necessitate individualized flight distance specifications.
India has never launched a missile with as long a range as the Agni 5, which is designed with near-ICBM capabilities.
The Agni 3, with a top flight distance of 2,175 miles, is the longest-range missile to be fired by India, the official said.
The Agni 1 and 2 already deployed in the Indian military.
"We would first test the Agni 1 and then Agni 2 before going for Agni 5," the official said.
"The tests would be conducted one after another once the integration process is complete and range is ready," said Avinash Chander, Agni missile program chief for the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization.
The solid-fueled, three-stage Agni 5 is designed to travel as far as 3,100 miles. The ballistic missile can be equipped with multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles and can be loaded with a nuclear warhead as heavy as 2,200 pounds.
The missile is intended to play a key role in India's strategic defense posture; it would allow New Delhi to hit any part of neighboring China with a strategic weapon.
Meanwhile, the Agni 2 can travel up to 1,243 miles and carry an atomic bomb weighing in excess of 2,200 pounds. The missile is kept in a state of launch-readiness and can be fired inside of 15 minutes after the order is given.
Arrangements are under way for test-firings of three Indian nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, including the inaugural flight of the nation's long-range Agni 5, the New Indian Express reported on Thursday.