Vol. 5 Num 263 Tue. February 22, 2005  

India tests medium range missile

India successfully test-fired a medium range surface-to-air missile yesterday from a range on an island off the coast of the eastern state of Orissa, defence sources said.

The homegrown missile named Akash -- sky in Hindi -- was fired from a mobile launcher Monday afternoon at the the Chandipur-on-Sea testing site, 200km northeast of Bhubaneswar, Orissa's state capital.

It successfully hit a pilotless target aircraft, a defence source said.

The 700-kilogram (1,540-pound) Akash can carry a 70 kilogram warhead and is designed to travel 27km.

On November 30, 2004, the same missile was tested with a live warhead.

Akash is one of five missiles being developed by India's state-run Defence Research and Deve-lopment Organisation.

Nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan frequently test-fire missiles they are developing for military purposes.