Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) successfully test-fired its 5,000+ km Agni V intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on 26 December, 2016.
As per an official press release, the Agni V test was carried out from the Dr. Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha.
DRDO noted that the missile test, which was deemed successful, “further boosted the indigenous missile capabilities and deterrence level of the country.”
Speaking to Defense News, retired Indian Army officer Brigadier Rahul Bhonsle stated: “Agni-V will be the last link in the chain of land-based deterrence vis a vis China as at present India cannot pose a viable threat to major Chinese counter value targets such as large cities.”
With the Agni V’s formal introduction, India is no among a handful countries (i.e. the U.S., Russia, France, the U.K, and China) to field ICBMs. As per the Economic Times, the Agni V has a range of 5,500-5,800 km and is capable of carrying a 1,500 kg high-explosive warhead (and, alternatively, a nuclear warhead).
The Agni V also utilizes a vastly improved inertial navigation system (INS) comprising of a micro-navigation system (MINS), enabling the missile to precisely engage its targets, even without support from an external guidance system, such as satellite navigation.
Notes & Comments:
In its official response to the tests, Beijing has opted to downplay media reports purporting its concerns, and instead, seems to have taken the Agni V for what it is – an eventuality. India’s longstanding research and development investment in rocket technology, which is plainly evident in its space program, meant that the procurement of an ICBM was a matter of time. Granted, this is the Agni V’s fourth test, the first took place in April 2012.