Agni-V is India’s nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). This article will dive into the development of Agni Missiles in India, particularly the Agni-V missiles. A brief timeline of Agni-V development along with a map showing the Abdul Kalam Island that houses the Missile Launch facilities of India.
The Nuclear capable Agni-V is an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a coverage range of over 5,000 km. Agni-V is an evolution of the Agni-III IRBM, featuring similar first and second-stage motors with an added third stage. India first tested the solid-fuelled Agni-V missile in 2012, conducting subsequent tests in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2020. Unlike earlier missiles of India, the Agni-V launches from a sealed canister on a road-mobile launcher, compressing the time needed to prepare for launch.
India’s missile arsenal serves many purposes in its Defense strategy. Foremost, it supports India’s nuclear deterrent posture against its main rivals Pakistan and China. India has a policy of “No First Use” while maintaining credible minimum deterrence. The latter requirement has pushed India to develop longer-range missiles and to diversify its delivery platforms beyond mobile land-based missiles. To this end, India is developing ship- and sub-launched ballistic missiles and has collaborated with Russia on cruise missile development.
|Agni-I||SRBM||700 -1,200 km||Operational|
|Agni-Il||MRBM||2,000 - 3,500 km||Operational|
|Agni-Ill||IRBM||3,000 - 5,000 km||Operational|
|Agni-IV||IRBM||3,500-4,000 km||In development|
|Agni-V||ICBM||5,000 - 8,000 km||In development|
|BrahMos||Cruise Missile||300 - 500 km||Operational|
|Dhanush||SRBM||250 - 400 km||Operational|
|Exocet||ASCM||40 -180 km||Operational|
|Nirbhay||Cruise Missile||800 -1,000 km||In development|
|Prahaar||SRBM||150 km||In development|
|Sagarika/Shaurya||SLBM||700 km / 3,500 km||In development|
- With Agni-V, India is now the sixth country in the world to have an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), others are China, US, Russia, Britain and France.
- Agni-V functions in a way that after reaching the peak of its trajectory, the Missile will turn towards Earth and will increase speed due to the attraction of the Earth’s gravitational pull before hitting its target.
- The successful launch of the Agni-V surface-to-surface ballistic missile was done at the APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha.
Agni-V at a Glance
|Class||Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)|
|Launch weight||50,000 kg|
|Propulsion||Three-stage, solid propellant|
|Range||5,000 – 8,000 km|
Agni Missile series
|Agni-I||SRBM||700 -1,200 km|
|Agni-Il||MRBM||2,000 – 3,500 km|
|Agni-Ill||IRBM||3,000 – 5,000 km|
|Agni-V||ICBM||5,000 – 8,000 km|
Agni-V Development Timeline
- India’s DRDO (Defense Research and Development Organisation) began developing the Agni-V missile in 2008. The DRDO’s Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), and Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) in Hyderabad collaborated in developing India’s ICBM, which evolved from the Agni-III project.
- Initially, DRDO referred to the missile as the Agni-III+ before renaming it as the Agni-V in 2010.
- Agni-V was first flight-tested on April 19, 2012, the missile was successfully launched from the Integrated Test Range in Odisha to a point in the Indian Ocean. The Agni-V travelled over 5,000 km, attaining a maximum altitude of 600 km. And hit the target with an accuracy of a few metres.
- DRDO by April 2012, constructed a ground test facility for the Agni-V’s canister-ejection system and transferred the production of a road-mobile launcher to industry.
- September 15, 2013, India test-launched the AGNI-V a second time, and it successfully flew 5,000 km from Odisha to a target in the Indian Ocean.
- The DRDO In mid-2014 conducted a final ground test of the Agni-V’s canister ejection system, and on January 31, 2015, conducted the first flight test of a canister-launched, road-mobile Agni-V.
- Agni-V was now production-ready and underwent another successful flight test on December 26, 2016.
- In 2018, DRDO and Strategic Forces Command (SFC) conducted joint user trials of the canister-launched Agni-V, and successfully launched the missile.
- India’s armed forces began inducting the Agni-V missiles into its arsenal in 2019.
- On 27 October 2021 India once again test-fired the recently inducted Agni-V, It is the first user launch of the Agni-V missile, which was last tested in 2018 before it got inducted into the Strategic Forces Command that looks after India’s nuclear arsenal.
Does India have Agni 5 missile?
Yes India’s armed forces began inducting the Agni-V missiles into its arsenal in 2019.
What is the Agni 5 range?
The Nuclear capable Agni-V is an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a coverage range of over 5,000 to 8,000 km.
Cruise Missile vs Ballistic Missile
|Cruise Missile||Ballistic Missile|
|Follows a straight line of motion.||Gravity, air resistance, and the Coriolis Force all play a role in how its projectile moves and where it goes.|
|In this case, the flight path is inside the Earth’s atmosphere.||Exit and re-enter the earth’s atmosphere.|
|Missiles with a short range (range up to 1000 km)||Long-distance missiles (300 km to 12,000 km)|
|E.g., BrahMos,||e.g., Prithvi I, Prithvi II, Agni I, Agni II, and Dhanush missiles.|
- A cruise missile either finds its target or has a pre-programmed target.
- It navigates with the use of a guidance system, such as inertial or beyond visual range satellite GPS navigation, and includes a payload and aircraft propulsion system.
- Cruise missiles, which can move at subsonic, supersonic, and hypersonic speeds, can be launched from land, sea, or air for land attacks and anti-shipping missions.
- They are designed to carry big payloads with excellent precision and stay relatively close to the earth’s surface, making them difficult to detect by anti-missile systems.