After Shourya and Prithvi II, successful launch of Agni-II from Wheeler Island - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Thursday 29 September 2011

After Shourya and Prithvi II, successful launch of Agni-II from Wheeler Island

An action sequence from Wheeler's Island of this morning's test launch of the Agni-II missile by the army's Strategic Forces Command. The DRDO's press release is pasted below (verbatim! the english is not mine)

Agni II Launched

DRDO Develop Agni II, the pride of India strategic arsenal was once again launched successfully today i.e 30.09.11 at 9:30 hrs from the wheeler Island off the coast of ORISSA. The launch was a hat trick after successful launches of SHOURYA & PRITHIVI-II, on 24th & 26th September 2011 respectively. The successful launch once again proved reliability of the medium range surface to surface missile.

The 2000 km range surface to surface missile, already inducted and part of countries arsenal for strategic deterrence, was launched as a training exercise by the armed forces. The two stage missile equipped with advanced high accuracy navigation system, guided by a novel scheme of state of the earth command & control system was propelled by solid rocket propellant system. The missile reached an apogee (peak altitude) of 220 km and hit the target. All the radar, telemetry systems, ectopic system tracked & monitored all parameters throughout the trajectory. Two ships located near the target point have tracked the missile in the final stage.

Dr V.K. Saraswat, SA to RM, Secretary Defence R&D & Director General DRDO, Dr. Avinash Chander, Programme Director, Distinguished Scientist & Chief Controller R&D (MSS) and Air Marshal K.J. Mathews, AVSM, YSM, congratulated all the scientists, other DRDO personnel and members of armed forces. Shri D. Lakshminarayana, PD and his team monitored all the launch operation. The event was witness by Shri S.K. Ray, Distingiushed Scientist &Director. RCI, Shri P. Venugopalan, OS & Director, DRDL, Dr. V.G. Sekaran, OS & Director ASL, Shri S.P. Dash, Dir. ITR & other senior officials from DRDO & the Armed Forces.


  1. ajai, can u please enlighten some of us on why most indian missiles have the stages separated by welded scaffolds? i have never seen this on missiles of other countries..

  2. ake off is fine but how do they know the missile will travel its full range?Shouldn't it be better to fire it from the east coast and hit something of a target 2000km away in the west or south?

  3. DRDO's working is just like the english they have written in the official press release. Can't they hire a person who has good english or is this situation because of reservation?

  4. old Agni fires as good as new. Congrats..

  5. Dear Ajai,
    Have the practice to write ODISHA not ORISSA. The name has been changed and approved in the house.

  6. The post could also have started with,'according to a press release by the DRDO.....' This forum is also getting 'manishankaritis'!Forgive me but it sounds condescending. Were this a blog on 'Elementary Grammar and Elocution'OK,but this is a serious Blog related to defence -matters.

  7. @ Anonymous 15:10:

    Guess what! DRDO plagiarised your idea before you even posted it. The missile was fired southwards to its full range of 2000 km.

    @ Anonymous 12:45

    Why are Indian missile stages separated by a scaffold? It's our 5000-year-old civilisation, dummy.

    For your information, the Brahmastra also had a scaffolding between the fifth and the sixth stage...

    @ Anonymous 09:06

    ODISHA it is. My apologies... I will try to stick to the new Indian names as far as I can.

    @ Anonymous 12:09

    Your comment: "Were this a blog on 'Elementary Grammar and Elocution'OK,but this is a serious Blog related to defence -matters."

    So serious blogs on defence matters should not have any views on linguistic exactitude? Why can't we discuss defence matters in good English?

    "Manshankaritis"? I'm happy to have that. At least the man puts his good points across in excellent English.. and in excellent Hindi whenever he speaks that language. It indicates mental discipline, whereas sloppy grammer and composition indicates an all-round sloppy attitude.

    Just my view!

  8. Regarding the welded struts/scaffolding between stages: ajai appreciate your humor. Can you please give us the reason even if the question appears silly to you. Thanks.

  9. @Anonymous 20:21

    Don't get annoyed plz, I was just kidding.

    It's just a design choice. The easiest way of having a spent stage sheer off from the next stage is this method that you see in Indian rockets.

    Naturally there are downsides to this... including, I believe, aerodynamic drag. But I understand that the DRDO has always done it this way and so it continues till the Agni-5.

    Let's see what new design features that brings in.

  10. Quiz: What's at 2000KM from South?
    Ans: Diego Garcia.

  11. @blog owner
    is the agni series solid fuel or liquid fuel based??wiki suggests its all solid

  12. Such welded scaffolds also exist for the following missiles:

    Soviet RT-2/8K98

    Chinese DF-5 (

    Chinese/Pakistani M-18/Shaheen-2 (

  13. Experimental launch of Agni-II Plus or Premier saw a difference immediately after takeoff path that errors in the mission.

  14. @BroadSword: Is all this hyped coverage given to the user trials of Agni & Prithvi justified?(I am not talking about the sensationalized news.) Here is a missile system which was developed around a decade back, has been inducted with armed forces and is tested regularly just like any weapon/equipment/system with them. So much attention by media and DRDO press releases appear kind of over the top. What do you think?

  15. @ Anonymous 23:01

    The Agni series are solid fuel missiles. Wiki is right.

    @ Aditya 16:08

    Why do you consider the routine issuance of a press release by DRDO, and the posting of it on a defence blog as "over the top" and "hyped coverage given to the user trials of Agni & Prithvi"?

    Most followers of Indian defence would like to know about even routine missile testing and I oblige them with the photos and press releases that DRDO puts out after a missile test.

    Do you sense a conspiracy here?

  16. @Broadsword: My apologies if I conveyed it wrongly, Sir. Let me rephrase it- In the mainstream media, we see the development trials of lets say Shourya, getting only as much coverage as user trials of Prithvi. I think this is strange. We ought to give more attention to the development trials; for user trials, in my honest opinion, are only an exercise of inducted technology. Is it wrong to expect such distinction?

  17. The scaffolding between the stages has been used on several other missiles in the past (as mentioned by an earlier poster). It is almost always seen only on liquid-fueled rockets of non-Western design. The stages usually have to have a small space in between them to incorporate small ullage rockets which allow the new stage to fire smoothly. Since the lower stages are discarded well before aerodynamics plays a significant role, not fairing over the gap (and consequently exposing the scaffolding) helps save a little weight. BTW if the outer fairing of most western rockets is peeled away, you'd see similar scaffolding as well


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