Agni-V is an intercontinental ballistic missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India. Agni V is part of the Agni series of missiles, one of the missile systems under the original Integrated Guided Missile Development Program.
According to DRDO chief, the exact range of Agni V is “classified” or “understated” but afterwards he described Agni V as a missile with a range of 5,500–5,800 km. The Chinese reports claim the missile has a range of around 8,000 kilometres (5,000 mi).
India has conducted successful test of the nuclear-capable long-range surface to surface ballistic missile, Agni-V. The missile is indigenously designed and developed by state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation.
The missile was designed to be easy to transport by road through the utilisation of a canister-launch missile system which is distinct from those of the earlier Agni missiles. Agni-V would also carry MIRV (multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles) payloads being concurrently developed. A single MIRV equipped missile can deliver multiple warheads at different targets.
First test launch
On 19 April 2012 at 08.05 am, the Agni V was successfully test-fired by DRDO from Wheeler Island off the coast of Orissa. The test launch was made from the Launch Complex 4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island using a rail mobile launcher. The missile re-entry vehicle subsequently impacted the pre-designated target point more than 5,000 kilometres (3,100 mi) away in the Indian Ocean.
Second test launch
On September 15, 2013 India conducted a second test flight of Agni-V from the Wheeler Island off Odisha coast. The missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher from Launch Complex 4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at about 8:50 am. The flight duration was little over 20 minutes and hit the pre-designed target in the Indian Ocean with an accuracy of a few metres.
Third test launch
On 31 January 2015, India conducted a third successful test flight of the Agni-V from the Wheeler Island facility. The test used a canisterised version of the missile, mounted over a Tata truck . The Integrated Test Range Director, M. V. K. V. Prasad, said: “The missile, witnessed a flawless ‘auto launch’ and detailed results will be known after all data is retrieved from different radars and network systems.”
Fourth test launch
On 26 December 2016, a fourth test of the missile was successfully conducted from complex 4 of Wheeler Island, Odisha at 11.05 IST. This was the second canisterised test of the missile and will now pave way for user trials of the missile by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC).
- The Agni-V is a three-stage solid fuelled missile with composite motor casing in the second and 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 significantly more to inter-continental range.
- In future, Agni-V is expected to feature multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) with each missile being capable of carrying 2–10 separate nuclear warheads.
- Each warhead can be assigned to a different target, separated by hundreds of kilometers alternatively, two or more warheads can be assigned to one target.
- MIRVs ensure a credible second strike capability even with few missiles.
The bouquet of Agni-I, Agni-II, Agni-III, Agni-IV and Agni-V form the bulwark of India’s nuclear deterrence programme. All of them can carry nuclear warheads. While Agni-I has a range of 700 km, Agni-II can take out targets 2,000 km away, Agni-III can travel 3,000 km and Agni-IV 4,000 km. The Army has already deployed these four missiles. Prithvi-II too can carry nuclear warheads.