New Delhi: The maiden test-firing of Agni-5 Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile, scheduled for today, was postponed at the last moment till tomorrow due to bad weather conditions at the test range off the coast of Odisha in the Bay of Bengal.
The test flight of the first-of-its-kind missile was to take place from Wheeler Island at around 2000 hours but it was put off due to safety reasons and bad weather at the test range.
"The test launch of Agni-5 missile has been postponed till tomorrow due to safety reasons. The test has been cancelled as there is heavy lightening in the test range," Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which has developed the missile, said, "Due to heavy lightening in the region, the Agni-5 launch is postponed for safety reasons."
The agency has got a "window period" of two days till April 20 to conduct the test firing of the missile.
A Notice To Airmen (NOTAM) - warning against any flight operations in the area - has already been issued by the agency till the time test launch.
The missile will take 20 minutes to reach its target area in southern Indian Ocean. DRDO has deployed tracking devices and stations all along the route of the test flight to collect data on the missile's trajectory.
The tracking stations will also record the speed and homing in of the missile on to the target.
Agni-5, with a range of over 5000 kms, 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 will be 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.
On the timeline fixed for fully developing Agni-5, DRDO Chief Dr V K Saraswat had said another one year of testing will be involved.
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.
First Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 08:57