Agni-5 To be Tested In 2011

India’s Intercontinental ballistic missile, the Agni-V, will be test-fired in 2011, the Defense Research and Development Organization’s chief says.

V.K. Saraswat tells AVIATION WEEK that the missile will be launched “anytime next year,” and that “our missile programs have reached high levels of maturity in the last 15 years with the successful launches of Prithvi, Agni and BrahMos.”

A BrahMos flight on Sept. 5 boosted the confidence of Indian missile scientists. “With the successful BrahMos launch, we achieved a major breakthrough in critical missile technology for strategic missions,” Saraswat said.

The DRDO chief’s confirmation of the Agni-V’s launch date comes two weeks after Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony announced that the missile was being prepared for the much-awaited flight.

“The missile was developed following the denial of technology to India. The denial has only given us an opportunity to develop a 5,000-kilometer-range missile,” Antony told a recent gathering in Hyderabad. “Our scientists, working in many critical areas, have proved that India can overcome sanctions and denials. When we face denial, we should take it as a God-sent opportunity and a challenge.”

The Agni-V can be laugched from multiple platforms on land and sea.

“It will be a three-stage, solid-fuel missile that will carry a conventional nuclear warhead,” a DRDO source said. “We are also developing multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle [MIRV] warheads for Agni missiles. The advantage is that it can carry several nuclear warheads.”


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