India successfully test-fires nuclear-capable Agni-5 ballistic missile

19 January 2018

India on Thursday successfully tested its long range surface-to-surface ballistic missile, Agni-5, for its full range from Dr Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha. The nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) has a strike range of 5,000 km, which can cover most of China.

The missile will eventually be inducted into the tri-service, Strategic Forces Command, which manages India's nuclear arsenal. With the Agni-5, India will become part of a small group of countries having ICBMs (range of 5,000-5,500 km) — only the US, China, Russia and France are known to have ICBMs.

This was the fifth test of the missile and the third consecutive one from a canister on a road mobile launcher, the defence ministry said in a statement, adding that all the missions were successful. The canister-launch version provides the capability to quickly transport the missile and launch it from anywhere.

The latest test was conducted at about 9.53 am. The flight performance was tracked and monitored by radars, range stations and tracking systems. According to PTI, the missile travelled 19 minutes and covered 4,900 km.

"All objectives of the mission have been successfully met. This successful test of Agni-5 reaffirms the country's indigenous missile capabilities and further strengthens our credible deterrence," said the ministry.

The Agni-5 is the most advanced missile in the Agni series, because of its navigation and guidance, warhead and engine. The missile has been made in a manner that after reaching the peak of its trajectory it will head down to the earth's surface, towards the target, with increased speed due to the gravitational pull.

The other Agni series missiles in India's armoury are the Agni-1 with 700km range, Agni-2 with 2,000km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2,500km to over 3,500km range.