Sending back-to-back strong messages, India today successfully test fired the Agni IV nuclear capable ballistic missile that has a range of up to 4,000 km. The test comes within a week of the successful test firing of India’s most lethal Agni V missile, an intercontinental ballistic missile, which can hit northern parts of China.
Supported by a mobile launcher, the surface-to-surface missile was flight tested from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Dr Abdul Kalam Island. This is the sixth trial of the indigenous missile, which weighs 17 tonnes and is 20 metre-long. According to reports, radars and electro-optical systems had been positioned along the coast of Odisha for tracking and monitoring all the parameters of the missile. Two Indian naval ships were anchored near the target area to witness the final event.
Developed by DRDO, the Agni IV is long-range missile that is propelled by composite rocket motor technology. The missile is reportedly equipped with state-of-the-art avionics V-12 fifth generation On-Board Computer. The missile has two stages of solid propulsion. The re-entry heat shield is capable of withstanding high temperatures that may reach as high as 4000 degree centigrade and above during reentry of missile in earth’s atmosphere and makes sure that the avionics function normally, with inside temperature remaining less than 50 degree centigrade.
According to the Ministry of Defence, the Agni-IV has the latest features to correct and guide itself for inflight disturbances. The most accurate Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System (RINS) and supported by highly reliable redundant Micro Navigation System (MINGS), ensure that missile can reach the target within two digit accuracy. Agni-I, II, III and Prithvi are already in the arsenal of armed forces, giving them reach of over 3000 km, giving India an effective deterrence capability.
According to Ravi Gupta, a former DRDO scientist, today’s test by the user adds to the confidence of India’s preparedness. “When it was developed, the Agni 4 was a major step ahead of the Agni 3 in terms of the number of new technologies it had. The success of these technologies contributed in a big way to the success of the Agni 5, in which they were used,” he told FE Online.
Watch: File video of Agni 5 canister-based launch
The Agni series of missiles gives India a formidable deterrence and strike power. India is also developing the Agni 6, that is expected to have a strike range of over 6,000 km. Meanwhile, after some user trials the Agni 5 would be ready to be inducted by the Strategic Forces Command. The Agni 5 is approximately 17-metre long and weighs about 50 tonnes. It can carry a nuclear warhead of more than one tonne.
With its induction, India would also join the list of select countries that boast of an ICBM with a range of over 5,000 km. Currently, only US, France, China, Russia and the UK boast of such a missile system.