Defence Minister: Agni-V IRBM Ready For First Test

The Indian Agni-V intermediate range ballistic missile is ready is ready for its first test, Defence Minister AK Antony said in Hyerabad on Friday. The actual test, however, is likely to be conducted only sometime in January-March next year. DRDO sources confirmed once again that Spring 2011 was the likely time that the 5,000-km range weapon would first be tested. Notwithstanding the Minister's comments, DRDO sources indicated that the first Agni-V was about 90 per cent complete, with minor work on the missile's third stage and heatshield assemblies remaining. The team is also working overtime to ensure there are no quality control issues that have dogged two previous tests under the Agni programe. By November, the first missile should be complete in all respects for its first flight test, though a comprehensive routine of subsystem tests will continue till the end of the year. With the February test, the Agni-III completed its routine of tests and is now ready for induction into India's nuclear force structure.

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