India tonight successfully conducted maiden night test of its indigenously developed nuclear-capable Agni-I ballistic missile with strike range of 700 km from a test range off Odisha coast as part of a user trial by the Army.
The surface-to-surface, single-stage missile, powered by solid propellants, was test-fired from a mobile launcher at 2310 hours from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island, about 100 km from here, Defence sources said. "The trial was successful and all mission objectives were met," Ravi Kumar Gupta, spokesman of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), told PTI over phone.
The sophisticated missile was test-fired by the specially formed Strategic Force Command (SFC) of the Indian Army as part of a user trial, ITR Director MV KV Prasad said.
It was for the first time that Agni-1 missile was launched during night. The SFC of the Army decided to conduct the test during night keeping in mind its requirement and need for preparedness to meet any eventuality, DRDO spokesman said. The night trial of the missile had to be postponed twice earlier February 18 and 19 last.
The DRDO-developed medium-range ballistic missile from the production lot was launched as part of a regular training exercise by the armed forces, sources said. The Agni-I missile has a specialised navigation system which ensures it reaches the target with a high degree of accuracy and precision, he said.
Weighing 12 tonnes, the 15-metre-long, Agni-I, which can carry payloads up to 1,000 kg, has already been inducted into the Indian Army.
Agni-I was developed by advanced systems laboratory, the premier missile development laboratory of the DRDO in collaboration with Defence Research Development Laboratory and Research Centre Imarat and integrated by Bharat Dynamics Limited, Hyderabad. The last trial of the sophisticated Agni-I missile was successfully carried out by the SFC on November 8, 2013 from the same base.