India tested on 12 April its longest-range nuclear-capable missile, the Agni III, which has a range of more than 3,000 km (1,900 miles), a scientist said.
The launch of the Agni-III missile took place from Wheeler Island, 180 kilometres (110 miles) northeast of Bhubaneswar, capital of the eastern state of Orissa.
The launch of Agni, which means “fire” in Sanskrit language, came after a failed test last July when the missile plunged into the Bay of Bengal after take-off.
“The test launch has been successful but the final results will be known four hours later -- whether it met all the parameters,” a scientist at the site on Wheeler island off India’s eastern coast said over telephone.
India, which has around 100 to 150 nuclear warheads and staged tests in 1974 and 1998, is developing a range of missiles including the Agni series as part of a defence strategy against neighbours China and Pakistan, also armed with atomic weapons.
India carried out on 12 April a second test of its nuclear-capable Agni-III ballistic missile with a range of 4,000 kilometres (2,480 miles).
Agni is one of five missiles being developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) under an Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme launched in 1983.
Agni-III is a surface-to-surface, two-stage missile. Both stages are powered by solid propellants. The missile supports a wide range of warheads, conventional and nuclear, with a payload ranging from 600 to 1,800 kilogrammes (1,320 to 3,960 pounds) including decoys and other anti-ballistic counter-measures. It can be deployed using rail or road mobile launch vehicles. Is said to have a high degree of accuracy with a medium to large nuclear payload, most likely a 200 to 300 kilotonne warhead.
The short-range Agni-I was first test-fired in 1989. India last tested the intermediate range Agni-II on August 29, 2004.
New Delhi has already begun the production of two variants of the Agni -- a 700-kilometre (434-mile) Agni-I and the 2,500-kilometre (1,550-mile) range Agni-II after flight-testing both the ballistic missiles numerous times since 1993.
The Agni is one of five missiles developed by the DRDO. The other four missiles are the Prithvi, the surface-to-air Trishul (Trident), multi-purpose Akash (Sky), and the anti-tank Nag (Cobra).