New Delhi: India will test fire the 2,000 km range Agni-II surface-to-surface ballistic missile from Wheeler's Island near Dhamara off the Orissa coast this week. This will be the first user trial for the intermediate range ballistic missile and will be carried out by the Indian Army.
"The Agni-II is planned to be test-fired hopefully by Wednesday or Thursday," a DRDO official said here.
Officials also indicated that should the test go off successfully, it would pave way for the first test of the Agni-V missile, which is being developed by DRDO, officials said.
Agni-II is part of Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP), which also includes Prithvi, Trishul, Akash and Nag missiles.
Weighing 16 tonnes, Agni-II is 20-metre long with a one meter diameter and carries a payload of around 1,000 kg. Its range can easily be increased to 3,000 km by reducing the size of the payload.
"Agni-II can be fired from both rail and road mobile launchers. It takes only 15 minutes for the missile to be readied for firing," officials said.
Currently, only the 150-to-350 km short range Prithvi missile can be said to be fully operational with the armed forces.
The 700-km Agni-I and 2,000-km Agni-II are still in the process of undergoing user trials.
The Agni-V is intended to be a 5,000km range missile which will provide the country with ICBM capability. Design work on the Agni-V is over, according to DRDO officials, and an initial test could take place anytime before December 2010.
The work on the Agni-V hinges around integrating a third composite stage in the two-stage Agni-III, along with some advanced technologies like ring laser gyroscope and an accelerator for navigation and guidance.
The solid-fuelled Agni-V is being designed to be a canister-launched missile system in order to ensure complete operational mobility. The government has already sanctioned around Rs2,500 crore for the project.