India tests Agni V ballistic missile: Know more about it and how does it fare against other missiles

By: |
October 28, 2021 4:01 PM

This missile has further strengthened India’s deterrence capability and is in line with India’s commitment to 'No First Use’ and its policy to have ‘credible minimum deterrence’.

In 2012 & 2013, first two flight tests of the Agni-5 were carried out in open configuration. (Credit: PTI)

India has successfully launched the Surface to Surface Ballistic Missile, Agni-5, which has high degree of accuracy and has capability of striking targets at ranges up to 5, 000 kms.

This was announced by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) late Wednesday (Oct 27, 2021) evening. The missile according to the official announcement uses a three-stage solid fuelled engine.

Importance of Agni V test

This missile has further strengthened India’s deterrence capability and is in line with India’s commitment to ‘No First Use’ and its policy to have ‘credible minimum deterrence’.

It comes at a time when India needs to further ramp up its security. China is more belligerent than before, its relationship with Pakistan has become stronger. Situation in Afghanistan is a matter of concern and the Chinese leadership has been getting closer to the Taliban.

More about Agni V

It is indigenously designed and developed by DRDO.

It has a carbon composite heat shield which helps in maintaining the inside temperature to below 50 degree Celsius.

It comes with state of the art guidance and navigation, engine and warhead.

It is three-stage, 2m wide, and is around 17m tall and has a range of 5000 km.

It has the capacity to carry a nuclear warhead weighing around 1.5 tonnes.

The test carried out yesterday was more for familiarization, as the system has been ready for some time.

More about the previous tests

In 2012 & 2013, first two flight tests of the Agni-5 were carried out in open configuration.

In 2015, 2016 & 2018, the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th the launches were canister integrated with mobile launcher. This means that the missile can be launched with less preparation time.

In June 2018 test, several new technologies were tested which included Micro Navigation System (MINS), indigenously developed Navigation systems, and a high accuracy Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System (RINS).

This missile is the longest in India’s arsenal and according to experts can reach up to many parts of China. This missile has a longer shelf life, and enhanced mobility.

As has been reported earlier by Financial Express Online, the path has been accurately aimed at with the help of the inertial navigation system and advanced on-board computer.

It has fault tolerant software and after reaching the peak of its trajectory, this missile is expected to turn towards the earth. And then, it will move towards the target with greater speed due to the earth’s gravitational pull.


When India had carried out the first successful test of Agni V in 2012, it had entered into the Intercontinental ballistic Missile (ICBM) club.

Other variants of Agni Missile

Agni-II: This is a short range ballistic missile (SRBM) and has been in service since 2004. It is 20 m long, launch weight of 16,000 kg and is 2.3 m wide. According to the information in the public domain, it is road/rail-mobile launch missile and can carry a 1000 kg warhead. This missile can be fitted with high-explosive conventional bombs too.

Agni-III: It is an Intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) and uses a two-stage solid propellant engine. The range is between 3,000-5,000 km. Carries a single warhead of 2,000 kg, is 16.7 m long, 1.85 m wide. It has a launch weight of 48,000 kg.

Agni-IV: This has been in service since 2013, this is also an IRBM. It has a range of 3,500-4,000 kms. And can carry a warhead of 800 kg.

How does Agni-5 compare with other missiles globally?

The US: In 1970, the LGM-30 Minuteman ICBM was first deployed and it has an estimated operational range of between 12,000 to 15,000 kms.


The world’s longest range and heaviest missile is with Russia. R-36M (SS-18 Satan) missile has a weight of 8.8 tonnes and a strike range of 16,000 Kms.


As far as Agni V’s striking capability is concerned, Chinese Dong Feng 4 too comes with a range of 4,500-5,500 km.

It also has Dong Feng 5 which is the longest range operational missile. It has a range of 13,000 km.

Dong Feng-15 is a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM). It has a range of 600-900 kms. And this missile can carry a payload of 500-750 kg and a different range of warheads.

Dong Feng-16 is SRBM. It is a new addition to China’s arsenal and was displayed for the first time in 2015. It has a range of 800-1000 km.

Dong Feng-21 is a ballistic missile. Its range is up to 2,150 km.

Dong Feng-26, is a two-stage solid fuel rocket IRBM. Can carry a nuclear or conventional warhead with a weight of 1200-1800 kg. It is 14 m long, with a maximum range of 5000 km.

Dong Feng- 31 is already operational in the Chinese army. Was deployed in 2006 and has a range of 8,000-11,700km.

Dong Feng -41 the longest range ICBM with China and has a capacity to travel to 12,000-15,000 km. Can achieve the speed of Mach 25.


The M51, has an operational range between 8,000 — 10,000 Kms and is three stage missile.


Jericho III has been produced by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). It has the capability of hitting targets within a range of 4,800 to 6,500 Kms.


Shaheen-III ballistic missile is the longest-range missile it has in its arsenal – 2,750 km and can reach Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, as claimed by Islamabad. It can also reach many other cities in India.

Pakistan has been developing short-range missile systems like Nasr.

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