India today successfully test-launched Agni-5, its longest range ballistic missile, for the third time off the Odisha coast. The missile was launched from a canister from Wheeler Island, giving it higher road mobility.
The three stage, solid propellant "missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher from the launch complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at about 8.06 hours," ITR Director M V K V Prasad said.
"The missile, witnessed a flawless 'auto launch' and detailed results will be known after all data retrieved from different radars and network systems," he added.
With a range of 5000 km, the nuclear-capable missile can carry a warhead in the east as far as all of China and in the west all over Europe.
The three-stage missile is about 17 metres long and weighs 50 tons. The first rocket engine takes it to a height of about 40 kilometres. The second stage pushes it to about 150 kilometres. The third stage takes it to about 300 kilometres above the Earth. And the missile finally reaches a height of about 800 kilometres.
The missile travels faster than a bullet and can carry 1000 kilogram of nuclear weapon. It can be launched only on direct orders from the Prime Minister; India hopes it turns out to be a weapon of peace not war.
Unlike other missiles of Agni series, the latest one 'AGNI-5', is most advanced having some new technologies incorporated with it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine, Mr Prasad said.
India carried out two successful tests of the basic version of Agni-5 in 2012 and 2013.
Agni-5 gives India the ability to launch nuclear weapons from land at will from anywhere in India. It will give India the ability to hit back or have second-strike capability even after a nuclear strike.
It was also a super charged farewell gift for DRDO chief Avinash Chander who retires today. India's Integrated Missile Programme has been a resounding success with the Agni missiles giving the country a credible nuclear deterrence. As a scientist and team leader, Dr Avinash Chander has achieved significant success in his work.