Intermediate ballistic missile 'Agni' testfired

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Balasore, Orissa, Oct 5: India's first intermediate range ballistic missile 'Agni' was today successfully testfired from the Wheeler Island, off the coast of Orissa.

The surface-to-surface missile, named Agni I variant, was testfired at 1038 hrs.

The two-stage Agni incorporates a slightly modified Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle(ASLV) design in its second stage.

Agni was first testfired on May 22, 1989, from the Interim Test Range(ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea, about 15 km from here.

The Agni I variant was testfired from a mobile launcher from the inner Wheeler Island. Sources said the mission had been successful.

Senior officials of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and officials of the Integrated Test Range(ITR), Chandipur, were present during the launch of the missile, sources said. Agni is a surface-to-surface missile, with a short range of around 700 kms. A key delivery system in India's nuclear deterrent profile, was being planned during 2001-2002.

The government already had approved the Agni missile project for the development of long-range system using the state-of-the-art technology.

The long-range Agni missile had an intermediate range between 1,500 to 2,500 km. Defence sources said stage one of the Agni missile was a vehicle with solid propellant and stage two with liquid propellant.

The surface-to-surface missile zoomed into the clear sky as defence officials watched from the Wheeler island amidst the Bay of Bengal.

The Agni missile has been described as the Ambitious Integrated Guided Missile Programme(IGMDI) of the Defence Research Development Organisation(DRDO).

With the successful testfiring of Agni, India became the seventh country after the United States, Russia, China, France, Great Britain and Israel to have the indigenous ballistic missile capacity.

UNI

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