Agni V ICBM: Multiple warheads, Road mobility and advanced technology

Agni V ICBM: Multiple warheads, Road mobility and advanced technology

NEW DELHI - India on Thursday successfully test-fired nuclear-capable surface-to-surface Agni-5 ballistic missile. The 5000-km range ballistic missile was fired off from the Abdul Kalam island off the Odisha coast at 9:53 am.

Agni-V is about 17 meters long, 2 metres wide and has a launch weight of around 50 tonnes. The missile can carry a nuclear warhead of more than one tonne.

This is the fifth developmental trial of the Agni-5 long range missile. The first test was conducted on 19 April 2012. Thereafter three tests were held on 15 September 2013, January 31, 2015, and December 26, 2016. All four previous missions have been successful.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman confirmed the launch of the missile. "We have successfully launched nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-V today," she said soon after the launch.

The Agni missile system is an Intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) of India. It has been designed and developed in five variants – Agni-I, Agni-II, Agni-II Plus, Agni-III and Agni-V.

Agni-V is an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), a missile with a long range typically designed for nuclear weapons delivery. Specially tailored for road-mobility, the missile will be able to carry multiple warheads.

The surface to surface Agni V missile is the most advanced among the Agni series, having new technologies incorporated with it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine. The Circular Error Probable, CEP on board makes it one of the most accurate strategic ballistic missile of its range class in the world. This is important because a highly accurate ballistic missile increases the "kill efficiency" of the weapon.

It will allow Indian weapons designers to use smaller yield nuclear warheads while increasing the lethality of the strike. In other words, Indian defence forces will be able to deploy a much larger nuclear force using less fissile material than other nuclear powers.