Balasore (Orissa), Mar 23: India's first intermediate range ballistic missile ''Agni'' was successfully test-fired from the Wheeler island, close to the Orissa coast, today. The surface-to-surface missile, described as Agni I variant, was test-fired at 1005 hrs from a mobile launcher from the inner Wheeler island, sources said, adding it had achieved the mission target.
The two-stage Agni incorporates a slightly modified Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV) design in its second stage. The missile was first test-flown on May 22, 1989, from the Interim Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea, about 15 km from here. Agni has a short range of around 650 km. The missile, a key delivery system in India's nuclear deterrent profile, was being planned during 2001-2002. The government has already approved the Agni missile project for the development of long-range system using the state-of-the-art technology developed indigenously.
Two flight trials of the missile, which can carry a pay load of one tonne and is launched from a rail mobile launcher, were carried out successfully on April 11, 1999 and January 17, 2000.
The long-range Agni missile has an intermediate range between 1,500 to 2,500 km. Defence sources said the stage one of the Agni missile was a vehicle with solid propellant and stage two with liquid propellant.
The missile zoomed into the clear sky as the defence officials watched it from the Wheeler island inside the Bay of Bengal. The missile has been described as the Ambitious Integrated Guided Missile Programme (IGMDI) of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO).