In an significant achievement of India’s missile programme, scientists from the Defence Research and Development Organisation on Saturday successfully carried out the first-ever canister-based trial of nuclear-capable Agni V missile, with a range of more than 5,000 km.
The successful launch came on DRDO Director General Avinash Chander’s last day in office. “This is a momentous occasion. It is India’s first-ever ICBM launch from a canister and is a giant leap in the country’s deterrence capability,” said Chander, widely known as the architect of the Agni missiles.
“I cherished every moment of my service in DRDO and I thank you all for the relentless support given to me all through. I am leaving with the great satisfaction of equipping the country with such advanced missiles. I wish the entire DRDO community a great future,” he said after the launch at the Integrated Test Range at Wheeler’s Island off the Orissa coast. Chander, who was removed by the government through an order on January 13, more than a year before his contract was to end, was given a farewell by his colleagues.
The 17-metre-long missile was launched at 8.10 am from launch complex-4. The three-stage solid-fuelled missile reached a height of more than 500 km in its flight of about 20 minutes before landing in the sea.
DRDO scientists said Agni V is capable of delivering a 1.1 tonne nuclear warhead over a distance of 5,000 km and the range of the missile can cover most parts of China and Europe. This was the third successful flight test of the Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile and the first canister trial.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee hailed the successful launch and said the missile is a prized asset for the country’s forces. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar congratulated the DRDO, saying there should be more success and activity.
AGNI V: A GIANT LEAP
Agni V is India’s first intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of over 5,000 km
It can travel faster than a bullet and can carry a 1.1 tonne nuclear warhead
Canister-based launch has advantages of higher reliability, longer shelf life and less maintenance
Enables launch of the missile in a very short time
The missile is expected to be inducted into service in a year after a few more trials