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Jane's Missiles & Rockets - 27-Nov-2008|
Agni V to be ready for testing by 2010
India's 5,000-plus km range Agni V missile is on schedule to begin flight testing in 2010, Avinash Chander, the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO's) Agni programme manager, told the Indian media on 22 October.
He stated that, because the Agni V will be basically a scaled-up version of the successful 3,000-plus km range Agni III, he anticipated that the shortened development time would be feasible.
JANE'S MISSILES AND ROCKETS - APRIL 01, 2007
Defective heat shield to blame for Agni III failure, claims defence scientist
A defective heat shield was to blame for the failure of the first test firing of India's indigenously developed Agni III intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) in July 2006, the country's senior defence scientist said in New Delhi on 14 February, writes Rahul Bedi.
"It [the failure] was because of a defective heat shield and is a problem that is easily resolvable," Manthiram Natarajan, scientific adviser to India's defence minister and head of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, which developed Agni III, told reporters.
"We were using a rigid heat shield. Now we have realised the need for a flexible heat shield."
Elaborating on the glitch that resulted in Agni III falling into the Bay of Bengal well short of its projected 3,500-4,500 km range, Natarajan said the rigid heat shield sucked in cold air that mixed with hot air from its exhaust, causing the missile to veer off course from a height of 12 km and come crashing down.
Natarajan declined to put a timeframe on when the two-stage, solid-fuel missile would be re-tested. Defence analysts said it should take between eight and 10 test launches before Agni III "stabilises".
The 16 m-long Agni III is capable of carrying conventional and nuclear warheads weighing between 600 kg and 1,800 kg and can be deployed from rail and road mobile launchers. Agni I and Agni II, with ranges of 700-800 km and 2,000-2,300 km respectively, are in series production and have been inducted into Indian Army service.
It is possible that the heat shield that failed was not the carbon-carbon structure that covers and protects the missile's warhead section, writes Doug Richardson. It is hard to envisage how hot exhaust gases from the first or second-stage rocket motor could have been sucked into the nose section, causing the missile to depart from its planned trajectory.
As a missile gains altitude, the efflux from the motor nozzle(s) balloons out into a much wider pattern, which can result in hot gases entering into the tail section. The 'heat shield' mentioned by Natarajan may have been a barrier at the base of the first-stage propulsion system intended to prevent hot efflux gases from reaching vital pipework, electrical cabling and other second-stage hardware located close to that stage's rocket nozzle(s). A rigid design of shielding might have left small mechanical gaps through which hot efflux gases were able to pass with damaging results.
A new flexible shield is reported to be undergoing trials. According to unofficial estimates, the modified missile could be tested in May 2007.