India all set to test-fire Agni-III this year: Fernandes | india | Hindustan Times
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India all set to test-fire Agni-III this year: Fernandes

India is all set to test-fire this year its new longer-range 'Agni-III' surface-to-surface missile capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2004 11:27 IST

India is all set to test-fire this year its new longer-range 'Agni-III' surface-to-surface missile capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

"Yes, the missile should be test-fired this year. We have so far not zeroed in on any date for its launch. This is just the beginning of the year," Defence Minister George Fernandes told PTI in New Delhi.

On whether the missile would have a strike range of over 3,000 km, Fernandes said, "I will not make any commitment on that."

He also parried a question if the missile would be test-fired from a mobile launcher like other such weapons in the country's arsenal. "At the appropriate time one will know about it," he said.

India has already operationalised 700-km range Agni-I and 2000-km range Agni-II, which are both capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Agni-III is being developed to have a range longer than Agni-II.

Replying to questions on acquisition of 'Phalcon' airborne surveillance systems, Fernandes said a memorandum of understanding has been reached with Israel and Russia and "things are moving". The Phalcon system would be mounted on a Russian-made IL-series aircraft.

"We are producing our own airborne warning and control system. Work is on for the production of indigenous AWACS," he said.