India may test Agni-III missile next week
Balasore (Orissa), April 7 (IANS) India may test its homegrown nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-III from a military base in Orissa next week, official sources said Saturday.
Hectic preparations are on for the test launch of the missile at the Integrated Test Range of Chandipur in Balasore district, about 230 km from Bhubaneswar, the sources said.
The missile, having a range of over 3,000 km, is expected to be test-fired from launching complex No. 4 of Inner Wheeler Island, a new launch site of the integrated test range (ITR) at the Chandipur defence base.
Agni-III was last tested on July 9, 2006 from the same base. After the launch, it was reported that the second stage of the rocket had failed to separate from the missile quickly and had fallen short of its target.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had attributed the failure to "material-related fault", besides problems with the protective heat shield, design and propulsion.
"We are not taking any chance this time and hope the new test would be successful," a scientist told IANS.
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. While Agni-I is a short-range missile of 750-800 km, Agni-II has a range of more than 1,500 km.
"Agni-III, however, falls short of the range of ICBMs (inter-continental ballistic missiles), which have ranges over 5,000 km," he added.