Abdul Kalam Island- The Integrated Test range of India

Abdul Kalam Island

India has Integrated missile range from where India tests its Integrated Missiles. The Integrated Test Range (ITR) is a missile testing facility composed of two complexes – Launch Complex-IV (LC-IV) located on Abdul Kalam Island and Launch Complex-III (LC-III) located at Chandipur.  

The Government of India began searching for a suitable location to construct a dedicated military missile test range and begin development of the Agni series of missiles in the early 1980s.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) constructed an interim facility adjacent to the Proof and Experimental Establishment (PXE) at Chandipur.

In 1995, the Government abandoned the plan to move the test range from Chandipur to Baliapal, and instead built a new test site known as Launch Complex-IV at Abdul Kalam Island.

In this article you will learn about Abdul Kalam island. 

Abdul Kalam Island

Abdul Kalam Island

Dr. Abdul Kalam Island, formerly known as Wheeler Island, is an island off the coast of Odisha, India, approximately 150 kilometers east of the state capital Bhubaneswar. The island was originally named after English commandant Lieutenant Hugh Wheeler.

On 4 September 2015, the island was renamed to honor the late Indian president, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.The Integrated Test Range missile testing facility is located on the island, and serves as the test facility for most of India’s missiles such as the Akash, Agni, Astra, BrahMos, Nirbhay, Prahaar, Prithvi, Shaurya Missile, Advanced Air Defence, Prithvi Air Defence, and ASAT missiles. 

Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam was appointed as the first director of the Integrated Test Range in 1982

The first missile test conducted on Abdul Kalam Island was the successful test of the Prithvi missile on 30 November 1993. The missile test had an accuracy of 27 meters, which was far more accurate than the Army’s required 150 meters.

A granite memorial called Prithvi Point stands at the location of the original impact point of the test. Since the construction of the Integrated Test Range, entry to Abdul Kalam Island is restricted for the general public, and only DRDO personnel and Defence Ministry officials are permitted to travel to the island.

The test facility includes a launch pad, missile assembly/checkout buildings, and several administrative, and support buildings.

The facility is only accessible by ship, as there is no airport or bridge connecting the island to the mainland. It does have a small helipad, but missile airframes and all supplies, construction materials and heavy equipment arrive by ship.

Abdul Kalam Island also has a 2.3 kilometer railway line which connects the missile assembly buildings and is used to carry missile airframes from the pier to the launch pad.

The island also has residential and other facilities for DRDO scientists and staff.

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