India's most sophisticated intermediate range ballistic misslie (IRBM) Agni-III was on Sunday test fired from a range off the Orissa coast.
The indigenously built surface-to-surface nuclear capable missile, with a range of 3,500 km, was test-fired from a fixed platform at the launch complex of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at the Wheeler's Island at about 11.05 am, defence sources said.
Described as the most powerful of India's missiles developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Agni-III has the capability of carrying a payload of 1000 kg, the sources said.
Defence minister Pranab Mukherjee and his scientific advisor M Natarajan were present at the launch complex located in the Wheeler Island off the Dhamra coast to witness the launch of the missile.
Eyewitnesses said the sleek missile roared into the overcast sky leaving behind a trail of thick yellow smoke and fire and vanished into the clouds within seconds.
Fitted with an onboard computer, it took off vertically into space and re-entered again to the splash down point near Nicobar island in the Bay of Bengal, the sources said.
Three sophisticated radars, six electro optical tracking systems and three telemetric data stations were engaged in the main land at Dhamra, Chandipur and Andamans apart from a ship anchored close to the splash down point to monitor the entire trajectory of the missile.