AGNI-III Features and Background of IGMDP (India)

AGNI-III Features and Background of IGMDP (India)

Question - Agni V is one of a series of successful missiles indigenously developed by the DRDO. Discuss the features of the recently launched Agni-III and background of India’s missile development programme IGMDP.

A. Agni-III: Features

• India recently test-fired nuclear capable Agni-III ballistic missile with a strike range higher than 3000 km from Odisha coast’s Wheeler Island

• It is a homegrown surface-to-surface missile

• It has been test fired from a mobile launcher at launch complex 4 of ITR/Integrated Test Range

• The trial was successfully conducted by the Strategic Forces Command; it was supported by DRDO

• This is the third user trial of the Agni-III series for repeatability of the missile performance

• Numerous telemetry stations, ingenious radars and electro-optic systems monitored missile data;naval ships were lodged close to impact point

1. Specifications and Features

• Agni-III missile gets power from a 2 stage solid propellant system

• It has a length of 17 metres

• The diameter of the missile is 2 metres

• Launch weight of Agni-III is around 50 tonnes

• The missile can carry a warhead weighing 1.5 tonnes protected by a carbon all composite heat shield

• The missile has already been inducted into the armed forces

• It carries a hybrid navigation system, guidance and control system and advanced computer onboard

• Electronic systems linked with the missile have been made advanced for higher vibration, thermal and acoustic effects, according to DRDO

• Agni-III has circular error probable under the 40m range; it is one of the most precise strategic missiles in the world

• Agni-III is a two stage ballistic missile

• The first stage booster weighs approximately 32 tonnes; it is made of advanced carbon composite materials

• The second stage booster weighs 11 tonnes; it is made of iron based steel alloy

• Missile can carry range of warheads of different configurations; it can carry total payload of 2940 km for 4500 km

2. Series of Tests

• The first developmental trial of Agni-III on July 9th, 2006 was not successful

• Subsequent tests in April 2007, May 2008 and February 2010 met with success

• The first user trial of Agni-III was conducted in September 2012 and the next one in December 2013

• Both trials were successful

B. Background of India’s Missile Development Programme

• India is sixth in the world behind US, Russia, France, China and Israel in having missiles with nuclear capability which can be launched from the everywhere.

• The Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme/IGMDP is focused on India’s success in the indigenous development of missiles

• IGMDP was put together by well known scientist Dr. A. P. J Abdul Kalam, with the aim of indigenously developing missiles

• The Missile Study team recommended development of 5 missiles as part of this programme

• IGMDP was approved by GoI on July 26, 1983

• This project focused on bringing together scientists, academic institutions, research and development labs, industries and the 3 armed forces for India’s self sufficiency in missile development

• The following missiles have been developed as part of IGMDP:
- Prithvi: Short range surface to surface ballistic missile
- Nag: Third generation anti-tank missile
- Akash: Medium range surface to air missile
- Trishul: Short range low level surface to air missile
- Agni: Intermediate surface to surface ballistic missile

• The last missile project changed from a re-entry vehicle to a ballistic missile with varied ranges

• IGMDP was successfully completed on January 8th, 2008

Facts and Stats

About Prithvi-II

• Prithvi-II is the earliest missile developed under IGMDP
• It weighs six tonnes and is 1 m in diameter
• Its length is 10 metres; it strikes targets 350 km away
• It is a single stage, liquid propelled missile
• Its ship based variant is Dhanush

About Agni

• 5 Agni variants have been developed: Agni I,II,III, IIII and V
• These are all ballistic missiles
• Agni-I is a single stage missile with a range of 15 metres
• It strikes targets at 750 km
• Agni-II is a two stage missile weighing 17 tonnes and 20 m
• Agni-III is a 50 tonne missile
• Agni-IV uses new technologies such as composite rocket motors; its weight is mere 17 tonnes

About Akash

• Akash weapon system weights 710 kg
• It can carry a 55 kg payload

• It equals US Patriot missiles and it can destroy the following targets:
- Fighter jets
- Cruise Missiles
- Choppers
- Manoeuvring targets like UAV 25 km away

• Akash can climb to a height of 18 km and fly at 2.5 Mach
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