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Friday, April 20, 2012

Agni Sakshi: 50-tonne home-grown missile launcher, the real unsung hero

The Agni-V missile being readied for the maiden test on the home-grown launcher built by R&D Engineers Pune and VRDE Ahmednagar.
By Anantha Krishnan M 
Express News Service
Bangalore: It's the sole piece of steel that held Agni-V by its soul and heart. A true Agni Sakshi in many ways considering its close proximity to the missile during the take-off spit-fire seconds. The missile launcher used for Thursday's maiden test-firing of Agni-V is probably the less-debated piece of equipment which probably went down as an unsung hero. This home-grown launcher is co-developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) labs – R&D Engineers, Pune and Vehicle Research and Development Establishment (VRDE), Ahmednagar. It is made of high-strength steel and weighs 50-tonnes.
DRDO chief V K Saraswat told Express that the launcher used for Agni-V was a modified version of Agni-3 missile with many 'unique' capabilities. “It's a highly mobile platform that can be used for launching different types of missiles. It can be used to launch canister missiles and comes in road and rail mobile models. Its extremely high mobility makes the execution time (erection or installation) lesser,” Saraswat said.
During a conflict scenario, the launcher comes handy as it requires very less reaction time. “We have been doing launchers for all missiles. By the time Agni-5 gets inducted into the Service, we will be ready with a further more modified launcher exclusively for the missile. Since the Agni class missiles are very heavy, the initial alignment of launcher is a very critical during every mission. The Agni-5 uses inertial navigation systems (INS) and the launcher plays a critical role at the beginning stages,” says Guruprasad Siddalingappa, director, R&D Engineers, Pune.
He said the launcher provides the initial stability which is paramount for any missile launches. “Developing launchers is a specialized area and we had close to 50 scientists working on the Agni-5 launcher,” Guruprasad said.
Copyright@The New Indian Express

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