Defence News: Indian missile Agni 2 seemed to have developed a snag 500 meters in flight. The test was a failure as the missile swayed past it’s trajectory and the test had to be aborted just after the launch. The Agni 2 missile has a range of 2000-3000 kilometers and such a failure may most likely be attributed to bad stock. Although an investigation will yield accurate answers for concerned Indians. It is to be noted that the missile has performed well in earlier trials and this most probably a one off fluke that may not lead to stocks of Agni 2 being grounded.
Technical checks on quality of these missiles ensure their reliable operation but this failure has made it is unclear how many of these missiles will hit the target. It is a two-stage missile that uses solid propellant. India’s Agni-II stocks have seen improvements over the years, focusing on improving the system’s guidance and accuracy. A user-trial failure at a later phase in the flight would suggest perhaps guidance failure.
It takes only 15 minutes for the missile to be readied for firing and can carry a payload of one ton, nuclear or otherwise. If the configuration is for 500 kg, the range is increased significantly. The missile is equipped with avionics and advanced onboard computer. also, the missile has the latest features to correct and guide in-flight disturbances.
The Agni-II is one of the major weapon systems of India’s nuclear deterrence programme. The 2,000-km plus range nuclear-capable missile was lifted from the Launch Complex IV. After initial failures, India had in 2010 test-fired Agni-II. The test was repeated in 2014 and in succeeding test-firing exercises.
The Diplomat (India) puts it very informatively: “A failure early in the missile’s boost phase could also suggest that the particular unit chosen for testing suffered from cracks or gaps in the solid propellant grain, which would allow for a build-up of pressure upon ignition and, ultimately, failure. Scanning for these sorts of deficiencies requires equipment, including industrial x-ray scanners, that India only recently developed indigenously after being unable to import scanners from abroad. Various conditions — ranging from sharp temperature changes to stress in transportation — could have affected the propellant grain of this Agni-II, which could have been in storage for more than a decade.”
Photo credit: Hindustan Times