In a major shot in the arm for the country’s defence forces, India on Thursday successfully test-fired the nuclear capable Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), officials said.
The surface-to-surface missile, which has a range of 5000 km and can reach can reach the northern-most parts of China, was fired from a test range on Abdul Kalam island off Odisha coast at 9.53 am.
“We have successfully launched nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-V today,” Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman confirmed in Chennai.
The Agni-V was last tested on December 26, 2016, which was then described as the fourth and final experimental test of the three-stage missile, developed and successfully tested by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.
This missile has been tested four times so far – two of the tests have been conducted from a canister on a road mobile launcher. All the four missions have been successful.
The Agni-V missile, in its operational form is designed to be stored and launched from the canister, enhancing its storage, operational readiness, transportability, response time and shelf life.
The missile employs Ring Laser Gyro-based Inertial Navigation System (RINS) and Micro Navigation System (MINS) for navigation, which support the missile to reach the target point within a few metres of accuracy.
About 17 metres long, 2-metre wide and has launch weight of around 50 tonnes, the missile can carry a nuclear warhead of more than one tonne.
Once the Agni-V is inducted in the Indian military, India would join the super exclusive club of countries with ICBMs alongside the US, Russia, China, France and Britain.
The first test of Agni-V was conducted on April 19, 2012, while the second test was launched on September 15, 2013 and the third on January 31, 2015.
At present, India possesses Agni-I with 700 km range, Agni-II with 2,000 km range, Agni-III and Agni-IV with 2,500 km to more than 3,500 range in its armoury of Agni missile series.