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DateLine Sunday, 11 May 2008

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Agni-III test-fired successfully

India's credible nuclear deterrence capability received a boost on Wednesday with the successful test-firing of Agni-III ballistic missile, which is capable of striking targets 3,500 km away, from the Wheeler Island, off the Orissa coast.

The missile soared into the sky from a rail-mobile launcher at 9.56 a.m., carved a parabolic arc with its stages igniting and jettisoning on time, and a dummy payload splashing 3,000 km away in the Indian Ocean.

The missile climbed to an altitude of 350 km and reached a velocity of over 4,000 metres a second. As the re-entry system plunged into the atmosphere, it worked to perfection, withstanding a searing temperature of over 2,500 degrees Celsius. The entire flight lasted 13 minutes and 20 seconds.

The launch propelled India into a select group of countries such as Russia, the U.S., France and China with the intermediate-range ballistic missile capability.

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