On January 18, 2018, India was successful in testing Agni-5, the surface-to-surface ballistic missile.
Agni-5 was fired from a canister launcher, mounted on a mobile platform, from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Abdul Kalam Island (earlier known as Wheeler Island).
Agni-5, capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and the most advanced missile in the Agni series, traveled for 19 minutes and covered 4,900 km.
The user associate test-flight has further boosted indigenous missile capabilities and deterrence strength of the country.
This was the first user associate test of the Agni-5 after four developmental trials.
Agni-5 incorporates new technologies of navigation and guidance, warhead, and engine.
According to DRDO sources, the “high speed onboard computer and fault tolerant software along with robust and reliable bus guided the missile flawlessly.” It was also pointed that the “redundant navigation systems, very high accuracy Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System and the most modern and accurate Micro Navigation System had ensured the missile reached the target point within few meters of accuracy.”
Agni-5is to be a three-stage solid fuelled missile with composite motor casing in the third stage. It will be capable of carrying multiple warheads and have the ability to display countermeasures against anti-ballistic missile systems.
The missile is programmed to ensure that on reaching the peak of its trajectory it will turn towards the earth to travel towards the intended target with an increased speed as the earth’s gravitational pull acts on it.
The advanced on-board computer and inertial navigation system is designed to precisely direct the missile’s path.
In 2012 and 2013, the first two successful flights of the Agni-V were conducted in open configuration. The third (2015), fourth (2016) and the fifth (the latest) were in its deliverable configuration; this enables the missile to be launched with a much shorter time for preparation as compared to what is required for an open configuration. Besides, there are the advantages of being more reliable, having a longer shelf life, requiring less maintenance and having enhanced mobility.
India’s Agni series has Agni-1 with 700 km range, Agni-2 with 2000 km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2500 km to more than 3500 km range.
With Agni-5, India joins the group of countries with inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBM)along with the US, Britain, Russia, China, and France.