India on Friday test-fired an upgraded version of Agni-II nuclear-capable intermediate-range ballistic missile from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island off Orissa coast in inclement weather.
"The surface-to-surface missile was test-fired from a rail mobile launcher from the launch pad-4 of ITR," defence sources said after the launch took place around 1000 hours.
"Outcome of the trial will be known after data relating to various parameters of mission’s objectives are retrieved and analysed from different telemetry and tracking stations as well as naval ships positioned near the terminal point," they said.
The indigenously developed upgraded and new variant of "Agni" series missile is said to be the improved version of country’s existing "Agni-II" missile.
A scientist of defence research and development organisation (DRDODRDO) said "the modified version of Agni-II would have better accuracy and range."
"While the present Agni-II missile has a strike range of 2000 km and Agni-III can target a distance up to 3500 km, the strategic new missile, “Agni-II plus or premier” would bridge the gap between Agni-II and Agni-III,” a defence source said.
In terms of accuracy, "some more improved features had been incorporated to it," the source said.
India first tested the Agni-II on April 11, 1999 from Wheeler Island, about 100 kms from here. After its second flight test on January 17, 2001, the two-stage solid propellant missile was cleared for production. On May 19, 2009, Indian Army conducted user trial of Agni-II. However, it ended in failure.
In a subsequent trial, conducted on the night on November 24, 2009, the missile once again failed. After two successive failures, the flight test by the Indian Army carried out on May 17, 2010, was a success.
Agni-III was first flight tested on July 9, 2006, from the Wheeler Island off Orissa coast. But it was unsuccessful. However, the trials on April 12, 2007 and May 7, 2008 were successful and met all parameters.
For the fourth time, the sleek missile was tested on February 7, 2010 and proved the weapon system's robustness and accuracy by a hat trick successful performance.
The two-stage solid-fuel missile, meant for country’s strategic nuclear deterrence is now ready for induction.