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Friday, April 13, 2007

Agni III Launch

One of the better coverage of Agni III launch was by IANS's Gulshan Luthra. It covers all facets of the launch without mocking the success of test.

Defence sources told IANS that Indian scientists were working on putting multiple warheads on the missile.

There is a substantial use of lightweight carbon composite materials in the two-stage Agni-III, but after some more tests and further development, its weight would be reduced to give it multiple warhead capability.

The 16-metre Agni-III weighed 48 tonnes and carried a warhead of 1.5 tonnes.

An IRBM is a missile with 3,000 to 5,000 km range, while missiles with longer reach are designated Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBMs). There are nearly a dozen types of IRBMs in the world, including with North Korea and China, who shared their technology with Pakistan and Iran as well.

The missile can be launched from various platforms, including from submarines if their size is compatible. As India is already working on submarine-launched BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, it should not be a very difficult task to achieve submarine-launched IRBM capability.

Thursday's test, however, was conducted from a specially-built, mobile railway pad, indicating that it would be deployed in numbers from east to west to ensure secondary strike capability as part of the country's No-First-Use-But-Massive-Retaliation policy.

'The trajectory of Agni-III was computed by the onboard computer system based on the launch and target coordinates. During the flight, the missile had no communication with the ground systems and was fully 'intelligent' to reach its designated target,' a defence ministry statement said. [IANS]