New Delhi: The first development flight of
the long range Agni-V missile would be conducted in December
this year, DRDO Chief V K Saraswat said here on Tuesday.
"The first development flight of Agni-V will be in the
month of December this year... Agni-V will take us to a level
of 5000 km plus class of missile systems which meets all our
threat requirements," Saraswat, who is also Scientific Adviser
to the Defence Minister A K Antony, said.
He was interacting with reporters on the sidelines of
the inaugural ceremony of Golden Jubilee celebrations of
Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), a
premier DRDO lab working in the area of physiological
development of soldiers of the armed forces.
Replying to a question on whether DRDO is planning to
develop Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), Saraswat
said, "We are not developing any ICBM. Our threat perception
today is not requiring development of any ICBM."
He said that the country possesses the capability to
develop longer range missiles.
"Whether it is a 5000 km range missile or a 10,000 km
range one, it requires the same technology. Only the magnitude
of the rocket motor, the size of the rocket motor, or the
diameter of the missile changes. But the science and
technology remains the same," he said.
On the recent test firing of Prithvi-II missile, Saraswat
said it was a training launch carried out by the Strategic
Force Command (SFC).
"Missiles like Prithvi-II and Agni-III are already
inducted in the armed forces. Forces have already taken
certain number of these missiles. Now as part of the total
programme, from every batch of production, they take one or
two missiles to validate its production worthiness and second
thing is that they train their units," he said.
"Every time a new unit (of the forces) comes, it has to
be trained. So what you are seeing today are the training
firing of these missiles. Yesterday`s firing of Prithvi-II was
also a training launch carried out by the SFC. Similarly, all
the previous firing were done as part of that," Saraswat said.
On weapon trials of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas
which is going on at a firing range in Pokhran, Saraswat said,
"Yesterday LCA fired a laser guided bomb which had a direct
hit on the target under heat conditions in Pokhran. It was the
first such firing from the aircraft."
He said the aircraft is expected to get the Final
Operational Clearance (FOC) from the IAF by 2012.
On development of Mark-II version of the Main Battle Tank
(MBT) Arjun, Saraswat said the tank would be equipped with
advance and modified systems such as an integrated gun capable
of firing anti-tank missiles and a display system to show
several functions to assist the soldier.
"Missile firing capability in Arjun Mark-II will be
completely unique. It will be capable of firing laser guided
missiles with pin-point accuracy. The missile will be
integrated with the MBT and it would be capable of defeating
the tank`s armour," he said.
Arjun Mark-II will have several different capabilities,
for example, a different kind of gunner sight and panoramic
sight along with an integrated display, which is not there at
present, Saraswat said.
"The integrated display has got multiple functions like
target detection, it can see how the missile is going to be
located and function for firing different weapons. The display
will also show if the tank is moving through an amphibious
area," the DRDO chief said.
On systems to ensure improved performance of soldiers
operating the tank, he said, "The internal ergonomics will
undergo required changes. All the systems will have to go for
a reorientation mode. We have also made some new devices like
human cooling system."
Indian Army has ordered 142 MBT Arjun Mark-II which would
be ready for commissioning within a couple of years.