New Delhi: India on Thursday entered the elite club of nations possessing the technological know-how to produce an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) as it successfully test fired the nuclear capable Agni-V missile from the Wheeler Island off the Odisha Coast.
"The mission was successful. The missile hit the target in Indian Ocean in a perfect way," Chief of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), V K Saraswat confirmed.
The successful launch of the Agni-V missile was also hailed by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister A K Antony, who described the maiden test flight of the missile as an "immaculate success" and a "major milestone".
“Soon after the maiden launch took place at 0805 hours, Agni V witnessed a smooth and perfect vertical lift-off from the launcher and analysis was done to assess its health parameters after retrieval of date from all the sophisticated wide range of communication network systems,” a statement from DRDO said.
The maiden test-firing of Agni-V ballistic missile was postponed yesterday at the last moment due to bad weather conditions at the test range off the coast of Odisha in the Bay of Bengal.
Designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the three-stage missile has a strike range of 5,000 km.
Once validated and inducted into the armed forces after several more tests couple of years down the line, Agni-V will be India's longest-range missile which can carry a nuclear warhead.
The surface-to-surface missile Agni-V, which can carry a pay-load of 1 tonne is 17 m long, 2 m wide and weighs 50 tonnes. Agni-5 is a three-stage, all solid fuel powered, 17-metre tall missile with capability to carry various forms of payload.
It can be launched from land-based mobile platform and has the capability of hitting multiple targets.
The successful test launch of the missile is a major leap forward for India in the area of military technology and military deterrent capability, making it the fifth country in the world to possess such a technology.
Only the US, Russia, France and China possess the capability to operate an ICBM.
Senior military officials and the agencies which had participated in development of the missile were present at the Wheeler Island to witness the test launch.
Following the successful test launch, DRDO plans to conduct more such tests of the missile over the next one year after studying and analyzing the parameters achieved in each subsequent trial.
In November last year, DRDO had successfully test fired the 3,500 km range Agni-4 missile giving muscle to India’s deterrent capability against the military adversaries.
With PTI Input
First Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012, 08:23