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India's Agni-II Test Firing Fails

PTI 10 Dec 2010, 16:57:19 IST
PTI
Balasore (Orissa), Dec 10: A test-fire of an upgraded Agni-II nuclear-capable intermediate range ballistic missile from Wheeler Island off Orissa coast failed today with the weapon system deviating from its trajectory immediately after lift off.

"Experimental launch of Agni-II missile experienced a trajectory deviation immediately after the lift off resulting in failure of the mission," a DRDO spokesman said in New Delhi.

He said, "Detailed analysis is in progress".

DRDO sources said in Balasore, "The trial of the surface-to-surface missile, launched from a rail mobile launcher from the launch pad-4 of Integrated Test Range around 1000 hours, was not successful".

Scientists and experts were trying to ascertain the cause of the outcome by analysing different aspects, they said, declining to share detailed information.

Though ITR officials were tight-lipped about the trial, eye-witnesses said the missile fell into the sea around 30 seconds after it took off in inclement weather marked by intermittent rains and chilly winds.

A DRDO scientist said, "The modified version of Agni-II would have better accuracy and range."

"While the present Agni-II missile has a strike range of 2000 km and Agni-III can target a distance of up to 3500 km, the new variant, being christened as 'Agni-II plus or premier', would bridge the gap between Agni-II and Agni-III," a defence source said.

In terms of accuracy "some more improved features had been incorporated to it," the source said.

India first tested the Agni-II on April 11, 1999 from Wheeler Island, about 100 kms from here. After its second flight test on January 17, 2001, the two-stage solid propellant missile was cleared for production.

On May 19, 2009, the Indian Army conducted the user trial of Agni-II. However, it ended in a failure.

In a subsequent trial, conducted on November 24, 2009, the missile once again failed. After two successive failures, the flight test by the Indian Army carried out on May 17, 2010, was a success.

Agni-III was first flight tested on July 9, 2006, from the Wheeler Island off Orissa coast, but it was unsuccessful. However, the trials on April 12, 2007 and May 7, 2008 were successful and met all parameters.

For the fourth time, the sleek missile was tested on February 7, 2010 and proved the weapon system's robustness and accuracy by a hat-trick of successful performances. PTI