India's Nuclear-Capable Agni-I Missile is all set for Army’s First Training Trial


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Chandipur trial set for Friday will lead to operationalisation and induction of short-range missile.

New Delhi: The Indian army will, for the first time, validate its standard operating procedures and drills on a nuclear-capable missile by test-firing the Agni I at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur this Friday.

The first “training trial” of the Agni I missile will lead to its full operationalisation to complete its induction process into the service, sources confirmed, adding that great strategic importance is being attached to the test as it will determine the procedures and time required to launch a nuclear missile by the armed forces.

The Agni I, which can deliver a nuclear payload deep into Pakistan without being deployed at the border due to its range of over 700 km, was inducted into the Army in 2004 after over a decade of development trials by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). This short-range ballistic missile can be launched from both a road-based system and a broad gauge rail launcher system.

India has already issued notices for diverting civilian air traffic in the region in anticipation of the launch.

The notice specifies that “over flight restrictions” are being imposed in the area from 9 am to 5 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as an “experimental flight vehicle” will be launched from the ITR complex.

The training trial comes months after a similar test was carried out on the short-range Prithvi missile in May to validate standard operating procedures of the Army’s special missile groups. The Army’s “334 missile group” currently operates Agni I missile while the Prithvi missile has been inducted into the “333 missile group.”

The Agni II intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM), with a range of over 2000 km, has been inducted but its training trials are pending. The Agni III, with a range of over 3,500 km, needs to be tested “several more times” before induction.