India Test Fires Agni-II Nuclear Capable Medium-Range Ballistic Missile

 In GDI, Land, Defense, India

India’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) has con­duct­ed a night­time test firing of a medium- to inter­me­di­ate-range nuclear capa­ble bal­lis­tic mis­sile as part of its annual train­ing cycle to val­i­date the combat readi­ness of the Indian Army’s mis­sile forces.

An Agni-II medium- to inter­me­di­ate-range bal­lis­tic mis­sile was launched  at Launch Complex 4 at night­time on November 16 from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) on Dr. Abdul Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of the Indian state of Odisha, accord­ing to local media reports citing gov­ern­ment sources.

“The mis­sile was launched from the IC‑4 pad at Wheeler Island, Balasore,” Sirf News writes. “Splashdown was 2,000 – 2,100 km. down­range in the Bay of Bengal, on a tra­jec­to­ry designed to sim­u­late a range of 2,800 – 3,000 km.” The launch marked the first suc­cess­ful test of the Agni-II at night. A pre­vi­ous test, con­duct­ed in 2009, ended in fail­ure.

The Agni-II con­sti­tutes the back­bone of India’s land-based nuclear deter­rent.

Its max­i­mum range is esti­mat­ed some­where between 2,000−3,000 kilo­me­ters and it can carry a con­ven­tion­al or nuclear war­head of up 1,000 kilo­grams. It was first deployed in 2004 and is both road and rail mobile.

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As I noted pre­vi­ous­ly, there has been an ongo­ing con­cern that the two-stage solid-fueled ICBM entered ser­vice pre­ma­ture­ly.

The mis­sile was last test fired in February 2018. Another test, which took place in May 2017, failed for unknown rea­sons.

India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) was also expect­ed to launch a K‑4 inter­me­di­ate-range, nuclear-capa­ble sub­ma­rine-launched bal­lis­tic mis­sile (SLBM) from a sub­merged plat­form off the coast of Andhra Pradesh in south­east­ern India ear­li­er this month. However, to date no test has taken place.

The K‑4 has an esti­mat­ed max­i­mum range of 3,500 kilo­me­ters and can be fitted with a 2,000-kilogram nuclear or con­ven­tion­al pay­load.

A pre­vi­ous flight-test from a sub­merged pon­toon in December 2017 failed as a result of a bat­tery fail­ure. The last suc­cess­ful launch of the SLBM in in full  oper­a­tional con­fig­u­ra­tion from India’s first domes­ti­cal­ly devel­oped and built nuclear-pow­ered bal­lis­tic mis­sile sub­ma­rine (SSBN), the INS Arihant, took place in April 2016.

DRDO is also expect­ed to test-fire the Agni-III and BrahMos mis­siles this month.

The Pakistani mil­i­tary test fired a Shaheen‑I medium-range bal­lis­tic mis­sile (MRBM) on November 18.

“Pakistan suc­cess­ful­ly con­duct­ed train­ing launch of (…) Shaheen‑1 capa­ble of deliv­er­ing all types of war­heads up to range of 650 [kilo­me­ters],” said Director General of Inter Services Public Relation, Major General Asif Ghafoor, in a state­ment. The “launch was aimed at test­ing oper­a­tional readi­ness of Army Strategic Forces Command (ASFC) ensur­ing Pakistan’s cred­i­ble min­i­mum deter­rence,” he added.

Source: The Diplomat

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