Agni-V is a solid fueled intercontinental ballistic missile under development by DRDO of India. It will greatly expand India’s reach to strike targets well beyond 5,500 km away.The Agni-V is a three stage solid fueled missile with composite motor casing in the third stage. In many aspects, the Agni-5 carries forward the Agni-3 pedigree. With composites used extensively to reduce weight, and a third stage added on (the Agni-3 was a two-stage missile), the Agni-5 can fly 1,500 km further than the 3,500 km range Agni-III.Two stages of this missile will be made of composite material. Advanced technologies like ring laser gyroscope and accelerometer will be used in the new missile.
The advantage for Agni-5 is that it specially suited for road-mobility. The missile will utilize a canister and will be launched from it. During firing, the canister will be able to absorb enormous stresses when a thrust of 300 to 400 tonnes is generated to eject the 50-tonne missile.
Agni-V will feature Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs) with each missile being capable of carrying 3-10 separate nuclear warheads. Each warhead can be assigned to a different target, separated by hundreds of kilometres; alternatively, two or more warheads can be assigned to one target.MIRVs ensure a credible second strike capability even with few missiles.
According to C. Uday Bhaskar,defence analyst and former Director of the New Delhi-based National Maritime Foundation,the run-up to the Agni V missile launch has seen many references to China and the fact that with a 5,000-km missile India will now be able to ‘balance’ its imposing neighbour. The reality is more modest. China already has a range of proven ICBM in its inventory that straddle the 5,000 to 10,000 km bandwidth. India cannot acquire any equivalence with China in the WMD domain, nor is it warranted. More importantly, Beijing has a geo-political missile in Rawalpindi and the scope and depth of the Sino-Pak nuclear-missile cooperation adds to the Indian security challenge.
The test is a significant technology demonstrator and its strategic implications need to be placed in appropriate context. When inducted into India’s strategic forces command (SFC), a proven ICBM capability would enhance India’s deterrent capability. This in turn would enhance the credibility of Delhi’s No First Use (NFU) commitment as regards the use of nuclear weapons. The Indian doctrine is predicated on not being the first party to use the apocalyptic nuclear weapon — but conveying to its potential adversaries who chose to go down this path that the retaliation which will inevitably follow will be ‘massive’.
Links and Sources:
- India to test nuclear missile that can hit Beijing (cbsnews.com)
- Nuclear shadow grows across planet: India tests its first intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking China (theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com)
- * India to test fire long-range missile (chindia-alert.org)
- India tests long-range nuclear-capable missile: source (dawn.com)
- India to test nuclear missile that can hit Beijing (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- India tests nuke-capable missile able to hit China (thehimalayantimes.com)
- India tests first long-range nuke-capable missile (foxnews.com)
- India tests nuke-capable missile able to hit China (ajc.com)