India today successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear-capable Long Range Ballistic Missile Agni-5, which has a strike range of 5,000 km, off the Odisha coast.
The surface-to-surface missile was launched with the help of a mobile launcher from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Dr Abdul Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal at 9.48 am, defence sources said. This was the sixth trial of the state-of-the-art Agni-5. The missile covered its full distance during the trial which was a total success, they said.
“The flight performance of the missile was tracked and monitored by radars, tracking instruments and observation stations all through the mission,” the sources said.
Unlike other missiles of the series, Agni-5 is the most advanced with new technologies in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine, said a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) official. Many new technologies developed indigenously were successfully tested in the Agni-5 trial. Navigation systems, very high accuracy Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System (RINS) and the most modern and accurate Micro Navigation System (MINS) had ensured the missile reached the target point within few meters of accuracy, the official explained.
“The high-speed onboard computer and fault tolerant software along with robust and reliable bus guided the Missile flawlessly, he said.
The missile has been programmed in such a way that after reaching the peak of its trajectory, it will turn towards the earth and continue its journey towards the intended target with an increased speed due to the attraction of earth’s gravitational pull. The path has been precisely directed by the advanced onboard computer and inertial navigation system.
As the missile enters the earth’s atmosphere, the atmospheric air rubbing the skin of the missile during the re-entry phase raises the temperature beyond 4,000 degrees Celsius, sources said. However, the indigenously designed and developed carbon-carbon composite heat shield continues to burn sacrificially, protecting the payload and maintaining the inside temperature below 50 degrees Celsius, the sources added.
Finally, commanded by the onboard computer with a support of ring laser gyro-based inertial navigation system, the micro inertial navigation system, fully digital control system and advanced compact avionics, the missile hit the designated target point accurately, meeting all mission objectives, they said.
The ships located in mid-range and at the target point, tracked the vehicle and witnessed the final event. All the radars and electro-optical systems along the path monitored all parameters of the missile and displayed in real time, they added. The first two flights of Agni-5 in 2012 and 2013 respectively, were in open configuration.
The third, fourth and fifth launches were from canister integrated with a mobile launcher, in its deliverable configuration that enables the launch of the missile with a very short preparation time as compared to an open launch.
It also has advantages of higher reliability, longer shelf life, less maintenance and enhanced mobility, sources said.
At present, India has in its armoury the Agni series — Agni-1 with 700 km range, Agni-2 with 2,000 km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2,500 km to more than 3,500 km range. The first test of Agni-5 was conducted on April 19, 2012, the second on September 15, 2013, the third on January 31, 2015, and fourth on December 26, 2016. The last test was held on January 18, 2018. All the five earlier trials were successful.