India to Test Missile Agni-III Today

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May 7 – India is all set to test its most ambitious missile Agni-III on Wednesday on Wheeler Island off the coast of Orissa in Eastern India.

The missile has a strike range of 3,500-km, is 16.7-metres tall, with a lift-off weight of 48 tons and a warhead of 1.5 tons.

The Agni-III launch on Wednesday becomes important since it is the third time that the rail-mobile missile will be tested.

Agni-III, which has a velocity of 5,000 meters per second, is a totally new system from the 700-km-range Agni-I (12-ton) and 2,500-km-range Agni-II (17-ton) missiles inducted by the armed forces.

Technicalities apart, India needs an operational Agni-III missile as soon as possible since China already has a wide array of missiles, ranging from the fully-operational 8,500-km CSS-4 to the new 11,270-km DF-31A inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

China, as reported by the Times of India earlier, is also the only country in Asia to have SLBMs like JL-1 and the almost-ready JL-2, with a strike range in the region of 8,000 km. "Chinese missiles can target any major city in India. What we need is credible minimum deterrence against any Chinese misadventure. Agni-III will be a concrete step towards it," an official told the Times of India.