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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Agni-V warms up for canister launch; tech for next version maturing: Sekaran


File photo of Agni-V during its maiden launch in April 2012. 
By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: India’s long-range ballistic missile Agni-V is warming for a canister development trial launch in the next one month. The Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) newly-appointed Chief Controller R&D (Missiles & Strategic Systems) Dr V G Sekaran confirmed to Express on Tuesday that all preparations for the second trial of the 5,000-km-puls missile are in place. 
“We are ready, but need to get some clearances as these are all linked to the policies of government. The early induction of Agni-V tops my list of priorities. The Agni-V user deliverables should happen next year,” Sekaran said. The missile had its maiden launch in April 2012.
He said the Agni-4 (4,000 km strike range) will cross the last mile with another launch before it enters the production mode. “Our emphasis will be to equip the user at the earliest and iron out all issues at lightning speed. On the tactical side, we have the Akash missile systems, LR-SAM (Long Range-Surface to Air Missile) and Nag coming up in a big way. Simultaneously, the futuristic systems will all get converted into projects,” the top missile scientist said.
When quizzed whether these futuristic systems will get embedded on to a possible Agni-VI, Sekaran refused to give details and said: “We are studying various missile technologies such as MIRV (Multiple independently-targeted re-entry vehicles) and MaRV (Manoeuvring re-entry vehicles (MaRV). As and when the nation wants us to deliver, we will be ready with these technologies. It will be not right to speak on a missile programme without any sanction. But, we are working on enhanced systems for future missiles.”
Giving an update on various ongoing missile projects, Sekaran said that the Astra has completely undergone a design change following issues it had in the past. “We have had good flights, post new-design and also conducted some captive trials. It is in a good shape now and it should gear up for firing from an aircraft soon. The project is definitely out of woods,” he said.
The Nag missile, which had issues with its Infra Red (IR) seeker, too is gearing up for crucial user trials, while the missile’s carrier (NAMICA) will take some more time before cleared for trials. To a query on the development of an Anti-Radiation Missile (ARM), Sekaran said that the basic configuration was already in place. “The ARM project is on as planned and it will complete its different stages of development as per the script,” he said.
When asked about the quality concerns of missile production at Hyderabad-based Bharat Dynamics Ltd, he hoped that new systems put in place should address them. “There were concerns and they are very much under control now. New quality system checks have come in and we are sure of better results,” Sekaran added.
Copyright@The New Indian Express
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