Facts

India/U.S. Designation Agni-II
Missile Variants Agni-I/Agni-III/Agni-IV/Agni-V/Agni-VI
Mobility and Role Road & Rail mobile/surface-to-surface/ Medium-Range Ballistic Missile
Designer/Producer India
Range 2,000km+
Warhead Type and Weight Nuclear or Conventional/1000kg
MIRV and Yield No MIRV Capabilities/200kt
Guidance System/Accuracy Inertial/30-40m CEP
Stages/Propellant Multistage/Solid
IOC/Retirement 2004/Still in service
Status/Number of Units Operational/ N/A

Development

The Agni II is a medium to intermediate range missile developed by India with a range of at least 2,000km.[1] The Agni II uses a solid propellant in its two stage flight. [2] It is the direct successor to the Agni. The idea behind building the Agni II was to create a missile with a range longer than previous missiles developed by India, especially in light of the Indian military’s desire to have long range nuclear capability. [3] The development process began in March 1998. It is reported to have a launch preparation time of only 15 minutes, due to the solid fuel source, which far surpasses the Agni I’s half day preparation. [4] The Agni II also has a navigation and guidance system that incorporates ground-based beacons to improve accuracy. [5] These beacons are the basis of multilateration navigation which broadcasts signals from known locations. These signals allow measurements between the two locations. It was successfully tested in April of 1999 with its optimal range. [6] If the payload was lightened to 1000 kg the range would extend to 3,000 km. [7] Furthermore, there is speculation that the Agni II will eventually be outfitted with a nuclear warhead. [8]

The Agni II was deployed with the 335th missile group in 2004. Even after its deployment there have been set backs as many of its test flights were failures. [9] The weapons system is also road mobile in addition to its rail mobility. [10] The extensive railways in India allow transport of these missiles with ease. The Air Force places total number of Agni IIs at fewer than 10. [11] Their production capacity is reported to be at least 10 missiles a year, however, it is unknown if they are pursuing that capability. There was a modified version of the Agni II known as the Agni II+ which was designed to have an extend range but failed during its test in 2010. [12]

Strategic Implications

Even though the Agni II has the range to penetrate into China, it does not have the capability to reach China’s major population centers such as Beijing or Shanghai, but it is able to hit several smaller cities in western China. [13] Furthermore, the Agni II can strike Urumqi the largest city in Western China. [14] However, the Agni II could strike all of Pakistan if positioned correctly. [15] Furthermore if the Agni’s accuracy has improved significantly it opens up the possibility of the Agni II being used as a tactical support weapon. [16] In addition the added mobility shows a trend to ensure that the strategic missile force is not only responsive but durable as well. [17]


References

[1] “Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat,” Air Force ISR Agency, accessed June 25, 2014,http://www.afisr.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-130710-054.pdf.

[2]  “Agni” Federation of American Scientists, accessed June 24, 2014,http://fas.org/nuke/guide/india/missile/agni.htm.

[3] T. S. Subramanian, “Agni-Ii Missile Successfully Test Fired,” April 8, 2013, accessed June 25, 2014,http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/agniii-missile-successfully-test-fired/article4590964.ece.

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] “India Country Profile: Missiles,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, accessed June 25, 2014,  http://www.nti.org/country-profiles/india/delivery-systems/ .

[7] Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris, “Indian Nuclear Forces, 2012”,  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 68, no. 4 (201): 96-101, accessed June 25, 2014,  http://bos.sagepub.com/content/68/4/96 .

[8] Ibid

[9] Ibid

[10] “Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat,” Air Force ISR Agency, accessed June 25, 2014,http://www.afisr.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-130710-054.pdf.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris, “Indian Nuclear Forces, 2012”,  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 68, no. 4 (201): 96-101, accessed June 25, 2014,  http://bos.sagepub.com/content/68/4/96 .

[13] “India Country Profile: Missiles,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, accessed June 25, 2014,  http://www.nti.org/country-profiles/india/delivery-systems/ .

[14]  “India Country Profile: Missiles,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, accessed June 25, 2014,  http://www.nti.org/country-profiles/india/delivery-systems/ .

[15] Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris, “Indian Nuclear Forces, 2012”,  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 68, no. 4 (201): 96-101, accessed June 25, 2014,  http://bos.sagepub.com/content/68/4/96 .

[16] Ibid

[17] “Agni” Federation of American Scientists, accessed June 24, 2014, http://fas.org/nuke/guide/india/missile/agni.htm .

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