Balasore: Marking a new milestone in missile technology, India successfully tested its home-grown nuclear capable Agni III ballistic missile, with a range of over 3,000 km, from a defence base in Orissa.
The missile was test-fired at 10.52 a.m. from launching complex No. 4 of the Inner Wheeler Island, a new launch site of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at the Chandipur defence base, 230 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar.
The first test of the missile from the same defence base on July 9, 2006 had failed -- the second stage of the rocket had failed to separate from the missile quickly and fallen short of its target.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which developed the missile, had attributed this failure to a "material-related fault", besides problems with the protective heat shield, design and propulsion.
However, the initial feedback from the Thursday test indicated that it was successful, a senior defence official said.
While Agni-III is capable of reaching strategic targets deep inside China like Beijing and Shanghai, it, however, falls short of being an ICBM (inter-continental ballistic missile) that has ranges of over 5,000 km, a scientist said. Agni-III will become the missile with the longest reach in South Asia and more powerful than any missile in Pakistan's arsenal. However, China has missiles with a longer reach than Agni-III.
Agni-III, one of the Agni series missiles, is capable of carrying warheads weighing up to 1.5 tonnes, is 16 metres tall and weighs 48 tonnes. With an improved guidance system, this latest variant of the Agni series of missiles, Agni-III had a diameter of 1.8 metres and length of 16 metres.