India is making elaborate preparations to test its longest-range nuclear capable missile Agni III from a defence base in Orissa this week, military sources said Tuesday.
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. It can hit a target located at a distance of up to 3,000 km.
Many scientists have gathered at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) of Chandipur for the test, which sources say will be conducted from the Inner Wheeler Island - a launch site in Balasore district off the Orissa coast, some 230 km from here.
This would be the third test of the missile, which has can reach strategic targets deep inside China like Beijing and Shanghai.
The first test of the missile from the same defence base on July 9, 2006, was unsuccessful - the second stage of the rocket had failed to separate from the missile quickly and fallen short of its target.
However, the missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), was tested again from the same base April 12, 2007. The test was described as successful.
While Agni-I is a 750-800 km short-range missile, Agni-II has a range of more than 1,500 km. Both have already been inducted in the armed forces.