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India successfully testfires Agni-III

The homegrown nuclear capable ballistic missile can hit targets as far as China.

india Updated: Apr 12, 2007 15:12 IST

Marking a new milestone in missile technology, India on Thursday successfully tested its homegrown nuclear capable Agni-III ballistic missile, with a range of over 3,000 km, from a defence base in Orissa.

The missile was test-fired at 10:52 am from launching complex No. 4 of the Inner Wheeler Island, a new launch site of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at the Chandipur defence base, 230 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar.

The first test of the missile from the same defence base on July 9, 2006 had failed - the second stage of the rocket had failed to separate from the missile quickly and fallen short of its target.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which developed the missile, had attributed this failure to a "material-related fault", besides problems with the protective heat shield, design and propulsion.

However, the initial feedback from the Thursday test indicated that it was successful, a senior defence official said.

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.

Agni-I is a 750-800 km short-range missile. Agni-II has a range of more than 1,500 km. Both these have already been inducted in the armed forces.

While Agni-III is capable of reaching strategic targets deep inside China like Beijing and Shanghai, it, however, falls short of being an ICBM (inter-continental ballistic missile) that has ranges of over 5,000 km, a scientist said.

First Published: Apr 12, 2007 11:04 IST