Agni-II missile test-fired as part of user trial by Army

India today successfully test-fired its nuclear-capable Agni-II ballistic missile, with a strike range of 2000 km, as part of user trial by the Army from the Wheeler Island off Orissa coast.

"It was fully successful and met all the mission objectives. Since the last couple of times we had problems with Agni, all its systems were checked and re-checked before its launch. Today's performance was very successful," Avinash Chander, Chief Controller (R&D) Strategic Missiles of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) told The Indian Express from the launch site.

The missile lifted off from the launching complex from Wheeler's Island at 9.32 am and splashed off the Bay of Bengal after a 9 minute flight. Chandar said the missile covered its full-strike range. It is equipped with a special navigation system to achieve high degree of accuracy. The system is also equipped with anti-ballistic defence counter measures. It can be transported both by rail and road.

The two-stage solid fuel propelled Agni-II missile, developed by Advanced System Laboratory (ASL) and other DRDO laboratories, has a length of 20 metres, diameter of one metre and weighs around 17 tonnes. It can carry a one-tonne nuclear warhead.

On December 10 last year, the maiden testfiring of Agni-II Prime, an advanced version of Agni-II, ended in a massive failure after the missile dropped off ito the sea a few seconds after it was launched from Wheeler Island. A scheduled launch of Agni-II missile on August 29 was postponed a month ago following a technical snag in the control system of the vehicle's first stage.

Today's successful launch of Agni-II comes in the wake of two other successful launch of Prithvi-II and Shourya missiles. On September 27, India had successfully test-fired surface-to-surface missile Prithvi-II ballistic system to its full range of 350 km.

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