Balasore, Orissa: India's intermediate range, nuclear-capable Agni-II missile, failed a third attempt at a successful launch. Almost mimicking its earlier May launch this year, the missile veered off-course after a smooth take-off. The test took place at night and was conducted by an Indian Army missile unit, under overall supervision of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
''The lift-off and the first stage separation was smooth. But it faltered just before the second stage separation and behaved erratically, deviating from its coordinated path. Further analysis is on to ascertain the cause,'' said sources at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler's Island, Orissa.
The test was conducted from a rail mobile system in the launch complex-4 of Integrated Test Range (ITR) at about 7.50 pm.
Sources said the entire trajectory of the intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations, electro-optic instruments and a naval ship.
Earlier scheduled to be held around 6 November, the launch was deferred due to technical snags in its pneumatic system. The night trial was seen as a major step towards making Agni-II fully operational with the integrated Strategic Forces Command (SFC).
The nuclear capable, 2,000-km-plus range missile has a length of 20 meters, a diameter of one meter, weighs 17 tonnes and can carry a payload of around 1,000 kg. It was first tested on 11 April 1999.
The launch was significant for another reason, because for the first time since the beginning of DRDO's missile development programme, a missile was put under trial during night.