India says it plans to induct the Agni-V ballistic missile into the country’s armed forces by the end of 2014 after the successful launch of the missile last weekend.
The test-firing, the second in two years, was conducted from Wheeler Island off the coast of the eastern state of Odisha on Sunday, according to a senior scientist at India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). The missile, powered by three-stage solid rocket motors, “flew on a predefined path and reached its destination with expected precision,” the DRDO official says. “The test has demonstrated the maturity, repeatability and robustness of the system.”
Work is ongoing “to get the missile moving and fire it using a road-mobile launcher,” the DRDO scientist said.
Sunday’s test will be followed by another one at the end of this year. A few more tests will then be needed before the missile is formally inducted into India’s military by end of 2014, the official says.
Space expert Pallav Bagla says the second test launch of Agni-V is “a big step” for India “in the field of missile technology and military deterrent capability.”
The first test of Agni-V took place on April 19, 2012 from a mobile launcher at Launch Complex 4 of the Integrated Test Range in Odisha.
The Agni-V, an intercontinental, nuclear-tipped, three-stage ballistic missile, cost DRDO 2.5 billion rupees ($48.4 million) to develop. It can hit a target up to 5,000 km (3,100 mi.) away. It is 17.5 meters (57 ft.) tall with a launch weight of 50 tons, is powered by solid-rocket propellants, and can be transported by road.