By Prarthana Mitra
India test-fired its long-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-5 from Dr Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast on Sunday. According to sources in the military, the indigenous surface-to-surface missile with a strike range of 5,000 kilometres was successfully launched from in the Bay of Bengal at 9:48 am.
How Agni-5 fared in comparison to its peers
After five unsuccessful attempts, Agni-5 was successfully fired on its sixth trial over the weekend, covering its full distance and marking a triumph in India’s nuclear armament programme. The state-of-the-art missile is an asset in terms of its advanced navigation and guidance technology and upgraded warhead and engine, a DRDO official told the Times of India.
“The flight performance of the missile was tracked and monitored by radars, tracking instruments and observation stations all through the mission,” the source further added, referring to the ships located in mid-range and at the target point.
Unlike other missiles, Agni-5 is equipped with Ring Laser Gyro-based Inertial Navigation System (RINS) and cutting-edge Micro Inertial Navigation System (MINS) to ensure that the missile reaches its target, give or take few meters. In addition, a high-speed onboard computer, damage-resistant software along with robust and reliable engines were able to guide the missile on its course. A fully digital control system and advanced compact avionics also help improve the accuracy quotient.
The Agni-5 has been designed in a manner that enables the missile to turn towards earth immediately after reaching the peak of its trajectory, whereupon it accelerates due to gravity and continues its journey towards the intended target.
At present, India has in its armoury the Agni series — Agni-1 with a range of 700 km, Agni-2 with a range of 2,000 km, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with ranges of 2,500 km to 3,500 km. The first two flights of Agni-5 in 2012 and 2013 respectively, were in open configuration. The third, fourth and fifth launches were from canister integrated with a mobile launcher that gives the missile less time to prepare for as compared to an open launch.
Agni-5, the sixth, was also launched with the help of a mobile launcher from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) from Dr Abdul Kalam Island, and is said to have several advantages, including higher reliability, longer shelf life, less maintenance and enhanced mobility, according to sources close to the development.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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