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.”