missile technology Current Affairs - 2019
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Nuclear capable surface to surface Agni-5 ballistic missile was successfully test-fired from Dr Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast. It was user associated trial of missile undertaken by strategic force command along with DRDO scientists.
The missile was launched with help of mobile launcher from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Dr Abdul Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal. During this trial, the flight performance of the missile was tracked and monitored by radars, tracking instruments and observation stations.
It was seventh trial of the indigenously-developed surface-to-surface missile. The first test was conducted in April 2012, second in September 2013, third in January 2015 and fourth in December 2016. The fifth test was held January 2018 and seventh was held in June 2018. All the trials were successful.
Agni-5 ballistic missile
It is three-stage solid propellant nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), indigenously developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It is about 17 metres long, 2 metres wide and has a launch weight of around 50 tonnes.
Agni-5 is latest and most advanced variant in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine in Agni series of missiles. It has strike range of over 5,000 kilometres and can carry nuclear warhead of 1.5 tonne. Thus, it can hit most northern parts of China and other parts of Asia, Europe and Africa.
Unlike other missiles of Agni series, Agni-5 is most advanced missile having new technologies incorporated with it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine. It is also a fire and forget missile, which once fired cannot be stopped, except by interceptor missile which only US, Russia and Israel have.
It carries Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRV) payloads. A single MIRV equipped missile that can deliver multiple warheads at different targets. It is also incorporates advanced technologies involving ring laser gyroscope and accelerometer for navigation and guidance. It has not yet inducted into the Services.
Indian Air Force (IAF) has successfully test fired indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) Astra from Su-30 figher aircraft. The missile was tested at Kalaikunda Air Force Station, West Bengal. During the test, missile successfully engaged manoeuvring target with high precision meeting mission objectives.
The flight test assumes significance as it was part of the series of final pre-induction trials. In the series of trials held till date, Astra missile has been launched in complete Su-30 flight envelope. So far it has undergone more than 20 developmental trials.
Astra is air to air beyond visual range air-to-air indigenously developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It is one of the smallest weapon system developed by DRDO, having length of 3.8-metre and weighing 154kg. It is single stage solid fuelled missile and has payload capacity of 15 kg conventional explosives.
It can be launched from different altitudes and is capable of engaging targets at varying range and altitudes at both short-range targets (up to 20 km) in tail-chase mode and long-range targets (up to 80 km) in head-on mode.
It is radar homing supersonic missile having maximum speed of Mach 4 (four times speed of sound). It possesses high Single Shot Kill Probability (SSKP) making it highly reliable. It is all-weather missile with active radar terminal guidance, excellent electronic counter-counter measure (ECCM) features, smokeless propulsion and process improved effectiveness in multi-target scenario.
It has advance on-board electronic counter-measures that jam radar signals from enemy radar, making tracking of the missile difficult. It is fitted with terminal active radar-seeker and an updated mid-course internal guidance system that helps missile to locate and track targets. The missile can be integrated with all fighter aircraft of IAF including Sukhoi-30 MKI, Mirage-2000, MiG-29, Jaguar and the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).