India successfully launched Agni-5, the surface-to-surface ballistic missile, at 7:50 pm on October 27 from the APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha. The missile is capable of striking targets at ranges up to 5,000 km with a high degree of accuracy.
“The successful test of Agni-5 is in line with India’s stated policy to have ‘credible minimum deterrence’ that underpins the commitment to ‘No First Use’,” the Defence Ministry said in an official statement. Successful test-firing of the missile comes in the midst of the ongoing border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh.
This missile uses a three-stage solid fuelled engine and is 17 metre tall and 2 metre wide. This is the eighth trial of the indigenously developed missile which is capable of carrying 1.5 tonnes of nuclear warheads.
The DRDO-developed missile has a payload capacity of 1,500 kg of high-explosive warhead. The Agni missile is programmed to turn towards the earth’s gravitational pull after reaching the peak of its trajectory. Its path is precisely directed by advanced onboard computer and inertial navigation system.
As the missile enters the earth’s atmosphere, the atmospheric air rubbing the skin of the missile during re-entry phase raises the temperature above 4,000 degrees Celsius. The indigenously designed and developed carbon-carbon composite heat shield continues to burn sacrificially, protecting the payload and maintaining the inside temperature below 50 degrees Celsius.
Once inducted in the military, India will join countries like Britain, China, France, Russia and the US which have intercontinental missile capabilities. At present, India has five missiles under the Agni series – Agni-1 with 700 km range, Agni-2 with 2,000 km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2,500 km to over 3,500 km range and Agni-5 with up to 5,000 km range.
Agni-5’s first test was conducted on April 19, 2012 and the second one was conducted on September 15, 2013. Its third and fourth tests were conducted on January 31, 2015 and December 26, 2016. The fifth test was held on January 18, 2018 and the last one was conducted on October 27, 2021.
(With PTI inputs)
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