India successfully test-fires Agni-III missile
Sunday, July 9, 2006
India's most sophisticated (IRBM) to date, the was test-fired off the Orissa coast earlier today. The missile took off from a fixed platform at the Integrated Test Range at at 11:05 IST (05:35 GMT) in the presence of Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee and his scientific advisor M. Natarajan.
The missile took off vertically into space before re-entering the atmosphere and splashing down near Bay of Bengal. Three sophisticated radars, six electro-optical tracking systems and three telemetric data stations on the mainland at Dhamra, Chandipur and the Andamans, together with a ship anchored near the splash-down point monitored the missile's trajectory. According to eyewitnesses, the missile blasted off into the sky leaving behind a trail of thick yellow smoke and disappeared out of sight into the clouds within seconds.in the
The Agni-III, which has a range of 3,500 km and can carry up to 1000 kg of payload, has been described as the most powerful missile developed by India's. The missile, which is 16 metres long and has a diametre of 1.8 metres, has solid fuel boosters and is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads. The Agni-I and Agni-II, which were the earlier versions of the Agni series developed under the (IGMDP), have already been inducted into the Indian Army. Boosters for the earlier two missiles had been provided by the , however, the Agni-III uses an entirely new booster vehicle.
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