India Tested The Agni-IV Missile
On Monday, India carried out successfully a night launch of the nuclear-capable the Agni-IV intermediate-range ballistic missile which have strike range of 4,000 km from the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island, earlier known as Wheeler Island, off the Odisha coast, at about 7.30pm, contributing a significant boost to the country’s military capabilities. This test has been the part of routine user training launches carried out under the aegis of the Strategic Forces Command (SFC). It has reaffirmed India's policy of having a 'Credible Minimum Deterrence' Capability.
Defence Research and Development Organisation has developed the Agni-IV, a two-stage solid-fuelled missile. This intermediate-range ballistic missile is 20 metres long, 1.2 meters in diameter, and weighs 17 tonnes. It has been designed to carry a 1,000 kg payload. The missile was tested for the first time in December 2010. The two previous successful launches of the long-range surface to surface ballistic missile took place in January 2017 and December 2018, proving the reliability and efficacy of the weapon system. There have been eight such tests Over the last ten years. The modern missile has been equipped with compact avionics to ensure high level of reliability and precision. This missile has the ability to guide itself for in-flight disturbance.
The tri-Service SFC already has equipped with the Prithvi-II (350-km), Agni-I (700-km), Agni-II (2,000-km), Agni-III (3,000-km) and Agni-IV missile units, while the induction of the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Agni-V (over 5,000-km) is currently in an advanced stage. Agni-IV is the fourth in the Agni series of strategic missiles. The last version was call Agni II prime which was developed by the DRDO. Last year, India test-fired the nuclear-capable strategic Agni Prime missile with the capability to hit targets between 1,000 to 2,000 kilometres successfully. The modern missile has been equipped with compact avionics to ensure high level of reliability and precision. This missile has the ability to guide itself for in-flight disturbance.
The road-mobile Agni-IV and Agni-V have primarily been meant for deterrence against China, which can target any Indian city with its formidable inventory of long-range missiles. The Agni-V can reach up to northernmost part of China within its strike envelope. The shorter range of Agni missiles, in turn, are designed for Pakistan.
DRDO has also been working towards “manoeuvering warheads or intelligent re-entry vehicles” to beat enemy ballistic missile defence systems as well as MIRVs (multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles) for the Agni missiles. An MIRV payload is a single missile capable of carrying several nuclear warheads, each has been programmed to hit different targets. A “user launch” of the three-stage solid fuelled Agni-V missile has also been conducted by the SFC in October last year.
Some Sukhoi-30MKI, Mirage-2000 and Jaguar fighters have also for long been modified to deliver nuclear gravity bombs. The Rafale fighters inducted by the IAF are also capable of doing it. The third leg of India’s nuclear triad is, however, still far away from becoming robust, represented as it is by the solitary nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) INS Arihant armed with only 750-km range K-15 missiles as of now. Countries like the US, Russia and China have SSBNs with well over 5,000-km range submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). India has three more SSBNs under development, with INS Arighat now slated for commissioning this year after some delay. The K-4 missiles having a strike range of 3,500-km, in turn, will take at least one more year to be ready for induction. India is in the process of further strengthening its strategic missiles arsenal by adopting newer technologies and capabilities.
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