The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Brahmos tested, Agni trial put off

New Delhi, Oct. 29: The Defence Research and Development Organisation today claimed that it had “successfully” tested the supersonic cruise missile, Brahmos, for the fourth time even as it was indicated that the schedule for the long-range Agni III had gone awry.

The Brahmos was test-fired “from a static launcher in inclined mode at 11.20 this morning and achieved maximum range. The flight has achieved all the mission objectives set for it”, a defence ministry release said.

The Brahmos, basically an anti-ship missile system, is being jointly developed by India and Russia and is earmarked for possible sale to “friendly” third countries.

The missile can be launched from land, aircraft, ship and submarine. It was first test-fired on June 12, 2001, the second time on April 28, 2002 and the third on February 12, 2003.

The test of the long-range (3,000 km) Agni III that was scheduled for test-firing this year has now been put off. The DRDO chief and scientific adviser to the defence minister, V.K. Aatre, said it was likely next year. Earlier this year, the defence establishment was working towards testing the Agni III, touted to be a deterrent against Pakistan and China.

The Intermediate Guided Missile Development Programme is already behind schedule. Defence minister George Fernandes had said that the Agni III would be tested by December.

Aatre said the short-range (700 km) Agni I and the medium-range (less than 2,000 km) Agni II would be inducted into the armed forces.

The army is understood to be raising two new missile groups in addition to one that is equipped with the Prithvi missile. Aatre also said that all the Agni variants would be fuelled by solid propellants for longer range.

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