Strategic Forces Command (SFC), a special wing of Indian Armed forces conducted a user specific trial of 2000 km plus range nuke capable Medium Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) Agni-II from a defence base off the Odisha coast on Sunday, April 7.
Defence sources said the indigenously built missile was successfully test fired from the launching complex –IV of Wheeler Island, a part of Integrated Test Range (ITR) at about 10.22 am.
The successful launch, conducted with logistic support provided by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), once again proved the reliability of medium range surface to surface missiles.
The two stage missile equipped with advanced high accuracy navigation system, guided by a novel scheme of state of the art command and control system was propelled by solid rocket propellant system. The missile, which has a length of 21 meters and a diameter of 1.3 meter, weighs around 17 tonnes.
The DRDO is also planning to conduct the second trial of Nirbhay cruise missile within next couple of months. The maiden trial of the missile was a failure last month. Besides, a few more user tests of Agni-III, Agni-I, Prithvi-II, Akash and developmental trials of Prahar, Astra and Helicopter-mounted Nag (HELINA) missiles have been planned in coming months.
The United States has scrambled to reinforce its Pacific missile defences, preparing to send ground-based interceptors to Guam, as North Korea said Thursday it had authorized plans for nuclear strikes on US targets.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Pyongyang’s increasingly bellicose threats combined with its military capabilities represented a “real and clear danger” to the United States and to its allies South Korea and Japan.
“They have nuclear capacity now, they have missile delivery capacity now,” Hagel said Wednesday. “We take those threats seriously, we have to take those threats seriously.”
The Pentagon said it would send ground-based THAAD missile-interceptor batteries to protect military bases on Guam, a US territory some 3,380 kilometers (2,100 miles) southeast of North Korea and home to 6,000 American military personnel, submarines and bombers.
They would complement two Aegis anti-missile destroyers already dispatched to the region.
Shortly after the THAAD announcement, the North Korean military said it had received final approval for military action against the United States, possibly involving nuclear weapons.
“The moment of explosion is approaching fast,” the Korean People’s Army general staff said, responding to what it called the provocative US use of nuclear-capable B-52 and B-2 stealth bombers in ongoing war games with South Korea.
The US aggression would be “smashed by… cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means,” it said in a statement.
While few of the North’s threats have been matched with action, reports Thursday said it appears to have moved a medium-range missile capable of hitting targets in South Korea and Japan to its east coast.
“We are closely monitoring whether the North moved it with a view to actual launch or just as a show of force against the US,” Yonhap news agency quoted a South Korean official as saying.
A provocative missile test-fired into the sea over Japan is one scenario that analysts have said the North could opt for as a relatively low-risk way of exiting the crisis with a face-saving show of force.
Yun Duk-Min, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy in Seoul, said the latest nuclear threat was similar to one issued a month ago, but with the added weight of “approval” — presumably by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
A senior defense official confirms that the Pentagon has delayed an intercontinental ballistic missile test that was scheduled for next week. The official says Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel decided to postpone the test because of ongoing tensions with North Korea.
The test was “long planned and was never associated with North Korea to begin with,” the official said, but added that “given recent tensions on the Korean Peninsula, it’s prudent and wise to take steps that avoid any misperception or chance of manipulation, so the test has been postponed.”
The test was planned for next week at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It would have tested the Minuteman 3 ICBM missile.
The U.S. will conduct another test soon, the senior defense official said, adding that the U.S. “remains strongly committed to our nuclear deterrence capabilities.”
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) reports that Singapore is seeking the purchase of 20 AIM 9X-2 Sidewinder Block II All Up Round Missiles.
The contract, if approved by Congress, would include associated equipment, parts and support and would be worth $36 million.
“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by increasing the ability of the Republic of Singapore to contribute to regional security,” the agency said, “Its contributions to counter-piracy and counter-terrorism efforts continue to stabilize a critical chokepoint where much of the world’s goods and services transit en route to and from the Asia Pacific region.”
Associated equipment to be supplied under the Foreign Military Sales package includes eight CATM-9X-2 captive air training missiles, five CATM-9X-2 Block II missile guidance units, two AIM-9X-2 Block II tactical guidance units, containers, spares and repair parts.
“The Republic of Singapore requires these missiles to meet current and future threats of enemy aircraft,” the agency said. “The proposed sale will enhance RSAF’s ability to operate with coalition forces in bilateral and multilateral exercises and potential air defense operations.”
The prime contractor for the deal would be Raytheon Missile Systems.
South Korea will likely buy the Taurus KEPD 350 long-range air-to-surface cruise missiles next year. “We intend to choose the Taurus missiles and integrate them,” Kim Kwan-jin said at a parliamentary meeting of the defences committee in Seoul. “U.S. missiles were one of the options we were considering, but because it is difficult for them to be sold to Korea, the only option we have is the Taurus,” Kim added (Reuters). A military officer confirmed Wednesday (April 3) price negotiations with the German-Swedish Taurus Systems joint venture are due to start soon. Seoul is seeking to equip the next batch of fighter aircraft it intends to buy with the new missile. The Taurus would be the first strategic weapon Seoul has imported from Europe rather than the U.S.
Taurus Systems is offering two versions of the missile – one at the Taurus KEPD 350MR with a range of 300 km and the KEPD 350 with a range ‘exceeding 500km’. South Korea is likely opt for the extended range version as it seek to extend the range of its strike weapons, in order to cover the entire area of its rival in the north, particularly medium-range ballistic missiles bases located in the North East, and out of reach of the South.
The missile uses a combination of navigation methods, including Terrain Referenced Navigation (TRN) and Image Based Navigation (IBN), Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System (INS/GPS) delivering a target error rate of 2 to 3 meters over 500km flight.
The country is expected to buy 200 such missiles, to be integrated with F-15K and KF-16 fighter jets. The new missile is also likely to be carried by the next generation strike fighter (FX-3) Seoul is planning to buy – this could be F-15SE, F-35 or Eurofighter Typhoon.