By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 18: India on Wednesday put on hold the test launch of the long range
intercontinental ballistic missile, Agni V, capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads
to hit targets as far away as Moscow and Beijing.
The 5,000-plus range Agni V will now be test fired from the Integrated Test Range
facility on the Wheeler Island in Odisha on Thursday. The most sophisticated of all
Indian missile systems was scheduled to be test-fired at 7.30 pm on Wednesday but had to
be postponed due to “safety concerns” caused by bad weather and heavy lightening.
In a press statement the Defence Research and Development Organisation said, “Due to
heavy lightening in the region, the Agni-V launch is postponed for safety reasons.”
Agni V is an all-weather defence system, but since it is a test fire, the DRDO, which
developed the missile, postponed it for safety reasons. Earlier, the target area in the
southern Indian Ocean has been cleared and marine and aviation sectors were informed
about the test fire cautioning them not to venture into the target region.
Since it is a ballistic missile, it goes up high into the sky and re-enters the
atmosphere at a high speed to hit the target in just 20 minutes, traveling at five
kilometres per second.
Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said “the test launch of Agni-V missile has
been postponed till Thursday due to safety reasons. The test has been cancelled as there
is heavy lightening in the test range.”
Agni V, an improved version of Agni III, is a real deterrent and if successful, would
give India the regional super power tag. Depending on the place from where Agni V is
launched in India, it can hit targets even in Europe, Africa and Australia. The nuclear
warhead-capable missile can cover targets away from Islamabad, all of China and parts of
Russia. Once successfully test-fired, India will join the select group of nations with
intercontinental ballistic missile systems. It will be the fifth country to possess this
Defence capability after the USA, China, Russia and France. The DRDO is also working on
Agni VI with even greater target range.
The missile, developed by DRDO laboratories in Hyderabad, is the first Indian missile
that can carry multiple warheads. The existing missile systems carry just one warhead.
Agni V can carry as many as three warheads and could hit the given target or the set of
different targets with utmost precision. It is fire and forget missile with the
state-of-the-art indigenous electronic systems guiding it to the preset target. Once
fired, it cannot be stopped. This brings India on par with China, Russia and France with
only the USA being ahead in the technology.
Agni-V will put India on an advantageous position in the region as it could hit any
target within the geopolitical system. The missile has the most modern inertial guidance
and highly accurate sensors with high immunity that will protect it from being jammed by
the enemy. The warheads that Agni V can carry are designed to pierce through any
anti-ballistic missile defence system. They can also fool the radar system. The warheads
can pass through the atmosphere without being hit by the enemy's missiles. Each warhead
weighs up to 1,000 kgs.
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