by Sushant Kulkarni

THE nuclear-capable Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Agni-5, which was successfully test-fired on Thursday, included significant contributions by DRDO’s Pune-based High Energy Material Research Laboratory (HEMRL) in the form of five key components. The fifth test of the missile was conducted from the Abdul Kalam Island, off the coast of Odisha, around 10 am on Thursday. The launch vehicle for the missile has been developed by Ahmadnagar-based Vehicle Research and Development Establishment (VRDE).

A senior DRDO scientist said, “HEMRL has made some key contributions to Agni-5 missile, especially related to its movement. The lab has developed the gas generator, which takes out the missile from the canister in which it is mounted. Next, the missile had three stages, and the stage separators for all three stages have been designed by the HEMRL. These stage separators consist of linear-shaped charge explosives and separation motors.”

The scientist added, “The laboratory has also contributed the three retarding motors, which are used to slow down the separated part, so that they do not hit each other. The missile also needs to do course correction in between and for that, the side thrust motors have been contributed by HEMRL. Finally, the nose dome separation mechanism, which comes into action in the last stages, has also been developed by the lab.”

The DRDO official said, “The special vehicle on which the 50-tonne missile is mounted, and which provides good mobility, has been designed by VRDE in Ahmednagar.”

Another scientist said, “The missile, which has a range 5,000 to 6,000 km, can reach the northern-most tip of China. Roughly speaking, Agni-1,2 and 3 were mainly designed considering Pakistan, while 4 and 5 are mainly designed for China. The earlier four tests of the Agni-5 were conducted in 2012, 2013, 2015 and December 2016. After every test, detailed feedback were given to individual labs and adequate changes were made. After more user trials are conducted, the missile will be inducted into the Strategic Forces Command.”