Agni V : Features and Contributions to the Indian Defence Sector

Agni V: Features and Contributions to the Indian Defence Sector

Q. “India's intercontinental ballistic missile Agni V signifies the coming of age of the Indian defence sector.” Discuss.

I. Agni V: Important Features

• Indian intercontinental ballistic missile a potent and strong tool for war

• DRDO/Defence Research and Development Organisation shows the capabilities of the missile to target nuclear warheads at a massive distance

• The nuclear warhead is targeted from a truck mounted canister

• Ability for moving ballistic missiles makes it easy to locate and destroy enemy targets

• Missiles can be easily transported and launched in different climatic conditions

• Canisters also serve as decoys

• Large truck borne missile containers can be detected yet tough to make out loaded missiles from empty ones

• First strike becomes a difficult and risky undertaking in case of Agni V

• Agni V a technological challenge because 17 metre long, 50 tonne missile requires considerable force to be launched; massive amount of gas to be generated from the gas generator

• Neither the missile nor the launch system could be compromised, launch flawless

• 3 successive Agni V flights have been carried out without a hitch; DRDO officials indicated the missile would be launched for induction into service following one trial

II. Future Course

• Agni-V is a few test launches away from being launched in operational service with the Strategic Forces Command of the military

• Trailer mounted, canisterised Agni-V fleet can be moved on existing roads and provide a deterrent against enemies within a 5000 km range

III. Third test of the Agni-V missile

• It has been fired from a canister providing a hermetically sealed environment protecting the missile during operational deployment in tough weather conditions

• DRDO announces that the canister enables launch of missile within a short preparation period as against an open launch

• Advantages of greater degree of reliability, greater shelf life, increased mobility and less maintenance

• Agni-V developed and created by DRDO and supported by small as well as medium companies across Hyderabad that supply components and sub-systems

• Agni-V is a ICBM/Intercontinental Ballistic Missile by domestic standards

• It is an IRBM/ Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile by international conventions
• This ranges from 3,000 to 5,500 km.

• Agni-V's target can be ramped up 6,000 km striking targets across wide range of nations (excluding America and Australia)

• Longest range missile on operational inventory is estimated to have range of 3,500 km

• Agni-V is part of the original Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme

• Solid fuelled Agni-V is suited to meet threat perceptions as well as security concerns

• Targets across Asia and Europe can be struck down

• Canister launch missile system distinct from earlier Agni missiles

• Agni-V will carry out MIRV/multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles/payloads being concurrently developed

• Single MIRV equipped missile delivers multiple warheads from different targets

• Agni-V will incorporate advanced technologies involving ring laser gyroscope and accelerometer for guidance and navigation

• Project Director, Agni-V says missile achieved single digit accuracy in second test

IV. History of Launches

a. First Test Launch

• 19th April, 2012: Agni-V test fired by DRDO from Wheeler Island off Odisha's coast

• Test launch from Launch Complex 4 of the Integrated Test Range via rail mobile launcher

• Flight time of 20 minutes; third stage fired re-entry vehicle into the atmosphere at altitude of 100 kms

• All test parameters met

b. Second Test Launch

• On September 15, 2013 a second test flight of Agni-V was conducted from Wheeler Island off Odisha coast

• Missile was fired from mobile launcher named Launch Complex 4 of the Integrated Test Range

• Flight lasted 20 minutes and hit pre-designated target with accuracy of few metres

c. Third Test Launch

• On 31st January, 2015, a third test flight of Agni-V was conducted from Wheeler Island Facility

d. Special Propulsion Features

• Three stage soli-fuelled missile with composite motor casing in second and third stage

• Agni-V has the same pedigree as Agni-III

• Composites are used for reducing weight and a third stage has been added on leading to intercontinental range

• Total flight duration was 1130 seconds for first flight test of Agni-V on 20th April, 2012
• First stage ignited for 90 seconds

e. Mobility Features

• Agni-V specially tailored for road mobility and future land based strategic missiles to be canisterised

• Missile will utilise a canister and be launched from it

• Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles in future for Agni-V, 2-10 separate nuclear warheads

• Credible second strike capabilities within few missiles

B. Contributions to the Indian Defence Sector

• Pakistan and China have deployed nuclear weapons on missiles which far exceed nuclear deterrence; India needs to catch up

• Agni V has made important contributions but the enhancement of country's capabilities must be coupled with procedural planning

• Apolcalyptic weapons of mass destruction are being launched ; Agni V an efficient deterrent

a. Domestic Reactions:

• Success of launch was received with media coverage and acclaim

• Strengthen defence and security of the nation

• Milestone to add credibility and security preparedness and explore frontiers of science

• Giant strides taken in integrated missile development programme

• Less reliance on soft power now

b. International Reactions


• China and India are large developing nations which are partners in the development process; Good state of affairs and strategic cooperation to maintain peace and stability in the region emphasised

• At the same time, China has indicated that missile has the potential to reach 8000 kms and the Indian government has downplayed the capabilities of the missile to avoid concern to other nations


• Pakistan has recently released its own missile Ra'ad and said India has informed it of the test ahead of the time in line with the agreement one has


• Indians have joined the elite nuclear club including Russia, China, France, Russia and UK as well as Israel


• US welcomed the excellent non-proliferation record and engagement with the international community

c. Reasons Why Agni-V is a Credible Nuclear Deterrent

• Agni-V Will Guard India's Borders

• Country has deployed missiles in the Tibet Autonomous Region bordering China; China is only getting bolder; Pakistan has also deployed missiles

• Agni-V travels faster than bullet; Can carry 1000 kg of nuclear weapons

• Agni-V is known for reliability as well as survivability

• Agni-V will carry the capacity to load the nuclear warhead over a tonne in weight

• Longest range missile for carrying a nuclear warhead

• Missile is around 17 metres tall; first rocket takes it to height of 40 kms while second pushed past 150 kms and third over 300 km above earth

• Final stage: Missile reached height of around 800 kms

• India's first indigenously developed 5,000 km range missile

C. Conclusion

Agni-V has the capability to protect India and deter threats from external neighbours. With numerous features and capabilities, Agni-V has the ability to provide India with a higher standing in the world order as well. It has been termed as a gamechanger for the Indian defence sector.
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