An Agni-I nuclear-capable ballistic missile was successfully test fired off the coast of Odisha on Tuesday, 6 February. Inducted in 2004, this test – a user trial – was conducted by the Indian Army’s Strategic Forces Command.

The indigenously developed surface-to-surface missile was launched at 8.30 am from a mobile launcher at Pad 4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Abdul Kalam Island in Balasore.

According to the Army, this is the successful test of the 18th version of the missile. Agni-I can carry a payload of upto 1000 kgs and can hit targets located up to 900 kms away.

Reports say that the trial fulfilled all mission objectives, including hitting the target with pinpoint accuracy, and has been described as a “complete success”.

Heavy security net was thrown around the island.

The 12 tonne, 15-metre-long Agni-I was built after the Kargil War when the need for a missile to cover the intermediate range between Prithvi-II and Agni-II was felt. The single stage ballistic missile can fly at speed of Mach 7 or approximately 9000 km/hr.

Developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) in collaboration with the Defence Research Development Laboratory (DRDL) and the Research Centre Imarat (RCI), the missile was integrated by the Bharat Dynamics Limited, Hyderabad.

On 18 January, a successful test of an Agni-V was conducted from the same site. The Agni-V is the longest range Inter-Continental Range Balllistic Missile (ICBM) in India’s arsenal.

The Agni-I test reconfirms Army’s readiness to fire it at short notice. The missile has a specialised navigation system which ensures it reaches the target with a high degree of accuracy and precision. It has proved its excellent performance in terms of range and accuracy.

(With inputs from agencies.)