M Natarajan on Agni-III

I spoke to M Natarajan on camera yesterday for Headlines Today. Here’s the transcript of what he said last evening on the Agni-III launch. He offers excellent insights into last year’s disastrous debut launch and the success of this year’s test:

More than me the credit should go the entire DRDO and especially to the Programme Director Dr. Avinash Chander and his team and also many private and public sector companies who have contributed various parts. It is entirely indigenously designed, produced and configured.

It is approximately 9 months ago in July last year, we had the first test of Agni-III and it was in the words of the then Defence Minister – A partial Success. The reason was that the mission was not fully accomplished, it took off well and it tumbled down after some time.

We had put extensive telemetry even at that time. So we could get sufficient data and we appointed experts committee to analyse those data and study all the issues so that we don’t miss out at any front. We had a number of issues relating to aerodynamics, telemetry, command control system. We went through the analysis and we were very clear that the primary problem was at the supersonic speed at the height of 35 to 40 kms height there was a re-circulation of hot gas and the external costream mix and lot of which got sucked into a cavity between the flux nozzle.

At that time the temperature shot up to 700 , 800 and more and it burnt some cables of the control and which controls the nozzle actuation and that’s why the problem occurred. Because that kind of a device quite adequate in A1, A2 missiles But this is a much larger 2 mtr diameter so obviously that was not adequate. So we knew that now we have to bring in thermal barriers. But is not easy because this barrier has to be flexible to allow the nozzle to flex so it cannot be solid so we spent a quite a lot of time and now we have developed new silica based materials which are actually stitched like a skirt or umbrella, it moves along with the nozzle and at the same time insulates and that is the significant thing and also some other parts were moved out to other locations so they are away from heat.

The entire mission has been accomplished on the dot. All I wish to say is that it such efforts as you know in the last couple of months we had the interceptor missile done well, we have Dhanush launched recently, in between we had the strategic system and now this. All this have happened not due to luck factor, but it has happened because of the years of toiling and hard work put up by our young scientists. I am sure the next generation people, the younger scientists will carry this nation forward drawing the strength from this technology and the country can definitely trust them with the challenges and opportunities of these kinds of tasks. Strength is necessary for democracy and peace.

6 thoughts on “M Natarajan on Agni-III”

  1. It must be either ATV or Sagarika. Have a feeling that it is the latter. Possibly something was tested in the guise of Dhanush. What is interesting to note is Dhanush is bulky to placed on a ship,but they still are bent on testing it. Why?

    During these days there has been several interesting info that has been thrown in the media.

    Defense minister say India’s strategic payload is 200-300 kgs. Very interesting point. I think he hinted at the weight if the nuke warhead.

    I am still to get conviced about the range of 3000km. And why do we need a payload capacity of 1.5 tonne. It is way too much .

    I guess the range declaration is been subdued to make sure there is no too adverse international reaction. By indicating the payload capacity ,those who should know have got the message.

  2. India Today runs a piece on Sagarika in its 30 april 2007 issue. But I dont buy the reasons for secrecy i.e. nuclear deal.

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