Saturday, April 21, 2012
India Successfully Tests 5,000-km Agni-5 Missile
India Thursday stormed into a select league of nations that have the capability to hit targets over 5,000 km away when it successfully tested the Agni-5 long-range nuclear-capability ballistic missile from the Wheeler Island off Odisha coast.
With this successful test, India has joined nations like US, Russia and China in that exclusive club.
The missile was fired from the test base at 8.07 am, India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief Dr. VK Saraswat said at the test site.
"India is today a nation with proven capability to design, develop and produce a long-range ballistic missile. India is a missile power now. The three-stage Agni-5 missile's entire performance has been successfully demonstrated. All mission objectives and operational targets have been met," a jubilant Saraswat was quoted as saying.
Agni-5 is short of being called an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM). India's neighbour, China, has the DF-31A ICBM in its arsenal that can hit targets all over Asia and can reach Europe and even the Americas.
India's Agni-5, though, can hit targets in the whole of Pakistan and most part of China, including its capital Beijing.
The Agni-5 will go through a series of tests before its planned induction into Indian defence forces by end of 2014.
The 50-tonne Agni-5 is 17.5-metres tall and it reached an altitude of 600 km during the test and touched a velocity of 7,000 metres per second, enabling the payload to achieve the 5,000 km range.
Soon after the test, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hailed the Agni-5 success as "another milestone" in the country's "quest for security, preparedness and to explore the frontiers of science."
"I congratulate all the scientific and technical personnel of the DRDO and other organisations who have worked tirelessly in our endeavour to strengthen the defence and security of our country," Singh said in his message.
"Today's successful Agni-5 test launch represents another milestone in our quest to add to the credibility of our security and preparedness and to continuously explore the frontiers of science. The nation stands together in honouring the scientific community," he said.
The Prime Minister's Office also tweeted that Singh spoke to Saraswat and congratulated his team for the success.
Defence Minister AK Antony too spoke to Saraswat and Agni-V Project Director Avinash Chander to congratulate them for "this immaculate success," defence ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said.
Antony described the development as a major milestone in the country’s missile programme and said that "the nation is indeed proud" of its defence scientists. He also recalled "the untiring contributions of former DRDO chief M. Natarajan.
The Agni-5 programme has Tessy Thomas, a woman missile scientist, as the number two in the project. Thomas was the project director for India's 3,500-km Agni-4 missile that was successfully tested in November 2011.