Defence

India successfully test fires the Agni-V ICBM

Published : October 28, 2021 12:47 IST

Agni-V being launched from an island off Odisha, a file photograph. Photo: REUTERS

India successfully test fired Agni-V, the indigenously developed surface-to-surface nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), on October 27.

India successfully test fired Agni-V, the indigenously developed surface-to-surface nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), on October 27. The missile was test fired at approximately 1950 hrs from the A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha. The missile, which is designed to carry a single 1.5-tonne warhead, will be gradually inducted into the Army’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) on completion of its user trials.

Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Agni-V uses a three-stage solid-fueled engine, is road-mobile and is capable of striking targets at ranges up to 5,000 kilometres with a high degree of accuracy. The missile’s canister launch capability makes it operationally better than the other Agni variants since maintenance is minimal and transportation and firing swifter.

Announcing the test, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said that the successful launch was in line with India’s policy of “credible minimum deterrence” that underpinned the commitment to “No First Use”. The spokesperson said the missile’s high-speed on-board computer and fault tolerant software guided the missile flawlessly. Several new technologies developed indigenously, such as the navigational and guidance aids, have been incorporated in Agni-V.

The 50-tonne Agni-V, which is primarily being developed to enhance India’s nuclear deterrence against China, is about 17-metre long and 2-metre wide. Agni-V brings even the northernmost parts of China within its strike envelope.

India presently has in its armoury of Agni series the Agni-I, which has a range of 700 km; Agni-II (2,000 km range); Agni-III (3,000 km range); and Agni-IV (3,500 km-plus range). On June 28, India successfully test fired a new-generation two-stage, canister-launch missile called the Agni-Prime, which has a strike range of 1,500 km. The Agni-Prime is expected to eventually replace the Agni-I missile in the arsenal of the SFC. The other missile units at the SFC are the Prithvi-II (range of 350 km), Agni-II and Agni-III.

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