India on Thursday successfully test-fired its nuclear-capable Agni-III ballistic missile, with a range of over 3,000 km, covering China and Pakistan in terms of strategic vicinity and target range.
The surface-to-surface missile was fired from the Inner Wheeler Island off the coast of Dhamra in Bhadrak district, Odisha about 200 km from Bhubaneshwar.
“It was a user trial. The test was successful,” test range director M.V.K.V. Prasad told IANS.
Agni-III is capable of carrying warheads weighing up to 1.5 tonnes. It is 16 metres in length and weighs 48 tonnes. The missile has a 2-stage solid propellant system and re-entry capability at a very high velocity.
Agni-III is highly mobile that it can be moved from place to place for launch anywhere in India.
India’s Nuclear deterrence envisages a triad of nuclear counter-strike capability which required a long range missile to provide robust second strike capability.
A missile system that can be dispersed far and wide in the Indian mainland, its far flung islands or its blue water naval assets made India develop the nuclear-capable Agni-III missile, with a heavier payload and a longer range but compact — thicker but shorter.
Hence Agni III to answer the need for a compact missile that can also carry ABM counter-measure payloads along with weapons, in a configuration similar to a MIRV, albeit with state-of-the-art decoys.
|Type||Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile|
|Place of origin||India|
|Used by||Strategic Forces Command|
|Manufacturer||Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO),
Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)
|Unit cost||250 million (US$4 million) – 350 million(US$5 million)|
|Weight||22,000 kg (Operational Version)|
|Warhead||Strategic nuclear (15 to 250 kt) (2000 to 2500 kg), conventional, thermobaric|
|Engine||Two stage solid propellant engine|
|3,500 km – 5,000 km|
|Flight altitude||> 450 km|
|Speed||5–6 km/s |
|Ring Laser Gyro- INS (Inertial Navigation System), optionally augmented by GPS, terminal guidance with possible radar scene correlation|
|8 × 8 TELAR (Transporter erector launcher) Rail Mobile Launcher|