NEW DELHI — Indian officials conducted what they described as routine user trials of the Agni-1 ballistic missile July 13. But sources in the government’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said the real purpose was to evaluate new guidance systems developed with the help of Israel.
According to the Defence Ministry’s official news release, the Agni-1 was fired from a mobile launcher at India’s missile testing center in the eastern state of Orissa, then tracked by radar and telemetry stations along the coast. Two Indian Navy ships near the target point tracked the Agni-1 in the terminal phase of its flight.
“Developed by DRDO, the missile is already in the arsenal of Indian Armed Forces and was launched by the Strategic Forces Command as part of a training exercise to ensure preparedness,” the news release said.
The surface-to-surface, single-stage missile can carry a nuclear warhead and is powered by solid propellants. The Indian Army prefers the use of solid propellants for short-range missiles because they can be placed into operation more quickly and easily than liquid-fueled missiles.
The Agni-1 missile has a specialized navigation system, a DRDO scientist said.