India on Monday test-fired its nuclear capable Agni-II Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) during night for the first time from the Wheeler Island off Orissa coast.
The night trial, a major step towards making it fully operational in the Strategic Forces Command (SFC), was conducted from a rail mobile system in the launch complex-4 of Integrated Test Range (ITR) at about 7.50 pm, a defence source said soon after the versatile and indigenously developed surface-to-surface missile blasted off from the launch pad.
"It was a smooth launch. Data relating to various parameters of the missions' objectives are being analysed," said a defence official who witnessed the test launch.
The 2000-km plus Agni-II has already been inducted into service and today's test was carried out by the SFC of the Indian Army while logistic support was provided by various laboratories and personnel of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), sources said.
On the significance of conducting night trial, a DRDO scientist said since it is a training exercise for the end-users, one should be familiar with the operation in extreme conditions.
The entire trajectory of today's trial was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations, electro-optic instruments and naval ship located near the impact point in the down range of the Bay, the sources said.
Agni-II is a two stages, solid propelled ballistic missile and is 20-meter long. The launch weight of the missile is 17 tonnes.
It is capable of carrying a payload of 1000 kg over a distance of 2000 km.
Agni-II was developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory along with other DRDO laboratories and integrated by Bharat Dynamics Limited, Hyderabad.
The missile is part of the Agni series, which includes Agni-I of 700 km range and Agni-III (3,500 km).
Agni-I was already inducted into service while Agni-III is in the process of induction.
The first trial of Agni-II was on April 11, 1999 and the last test was conducted on May 19, 2009 from the Wheeler Island, which was not "fully successful".