With the DRDO lab Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL) having developed the detonator which triggers the nuclear explosion and aids the successful take off of the 5,000 kilometer range Agni-V nuclear missile, state-run DRDO has confirmed that it has reached the final phase of the test. The strategic intermediate-range ballistic missile Agni-V is expected to be launched next month and inducted by 2014 into the armed forces.
Speaking at a press conference at the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL), Chief Controller R&D (Missiles and Strategic Systems) at DRDO, Avinash Chander stated that India’s ambitious Agni-V nuclear missile has entered the final phase of tests with the development of the detonator which triggers the explosion of the warhead and aid the launch. The three-stage Agni-V and the two-stage Agni-IV are poised to add credible deterrence against countries which have missiles like the 11,200-km Dong Feng-31A, Mr. Chander added. Agni-V follows last year’s test of the India most advanced surface-to-surface missile Agni-IV.
The Agni-V strategic nuclear missile with its 5,000 kilometers range is perceived as India’s move towards the club of nations with intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capabilities like US, Russia and China. While the Agni-V, the 50-tonne missile has a longer range than the previous one but less than that of an ICBM. However, DRDO revealed last year that it is also in the process of developing a 6,000 kilometer range Agni-VI missile. The Agni VI will be a submarine launched solid fuel missile with a maximum range of 6,000 kilometers and a payload of one tonne.
The development of the Agni series of missile was initiated in the 1990s. At present, four of the six Agni series missiles are in service and two are under development. The latest to be launched is the Agni V which is 17.2-metre long, weighs 50 tonnes and has a diameter of two metres. Agni-V is a solid fuel missile with a maximum range of 5,000 kilometers and a payload of one tonne. DRDO scientists added that all the three stages of Agni-V would be fired by solid propellants. In 2007, the DRDO developed a large rocket motor-casing made entirely of carbon filament-wound composite, a crucial step towards building Agni-V. This casing will form the third upper stage of the missile. Agni-V will feature Multiple Independently-Targeted Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs) with each missile being capable of carrying 3-10 separate warheads.
The Agni-V is expected to be launched from a road mobile system from the Wheeler Island off the coast of Orissa. Following the test, India will take another three years to get the long range missile ready for induction into the Indian armed forces by end of 2014. Agni-V is a three stage solid fueled intermediate-range ballistic missile with a 5,000 kilometres range under development by DRDO.