Thursday, 19 April 2012

Agni V: India gets nuclear missile edge

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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