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Indian Ballistic Missile to be Tested by March 2011

India intends to conduct a test launch of its new Agni 5 ICBM by March of next year.
Researchers said the weapon is in the final stages of development. It would be intended to carry a conventional or nuclear payload up to approximately 3,000 miles.

"Hopefully, the Agni 5 ICBM will be ready for its maiden test launch by March 2011," said W. Selvamurthy, a chief controller within India's Defense Research and Development Organization.
Other missiles in the Agni line have all proved to function in testing, prompting optimism for the latest version, according to Selvamurthy.
"Besides Agni 5, we are also working on developing a strong interceptor missile system which can be launched from air to surface, surface to surface or deep in the waters," Selvamurthy said.
W. Selvamurthy, a scientist and chief controller at the organization, reaffirmed the government's intention to test the Agni 5 missile by early next year. The three-stage missile would have a flight range of about 3,000 miles and could carry a conventional or nuclear payload weighing 1.5 metric tons, he said.
The extended range of the weapon makes it essentially an ICBM, according to Selvamurthy.
The Indian army's planned deployment of the Agni 3 missile is still pending, the scientist said. That missile is designed to fly nearly 2,200 miles and could carry nuclear payloads.
Selvamurthy commented on India's possible induction of antisatellite technology. "DRDO has not taken up an antisatellite space program. But if required, it is well prepared to develop and design such a mechanism," he said.
Meanwhile, the science organization has also made significant moves to protect Indian military personnel from biological, chemical or nuclear agents, Selvamurthy said.
“The DRDO has invented a ‘portable gas chromatograph’ which can detect chemical warfare agents. This has been converted into a three chemical paper which will be placed on the uniform and any change in color will enable the soldiers to detect chemical contamination,” he said.
The organization has also developed a system for diagnosing diseases such as anthrax, plague and H1N1 influenza, along with remotely operated vehicles that could be used to identify chemical and radiation contamination, Selvamurthy said 


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