Facts

India/U.S. Designation Agni-III
Missile Variants Agni-I/Agni-II/Agni-IV/Agni-V/Agni-VI
Mobility and Role Road mobile/surface-to-surface/ Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile
Designer/Producer India
Range 3,200km+
Warhead Type and Weight Nuclear or Conventional/2000kg
MIRV and Yield No MIRV capabilities/200kt
Guidance System/Accuracy GPS/40m CEP
Stages/Propellant Multistage/Solid
IOC/Retirement 2011/Still in service
Status/Number of Units Operational/ N/A

Development

Agni-III is a medium or intermediate range ballistic missile indigenously developed in India. It uses solid propellant and is rail mobile with an estimated max range of over 3,200 km. It has an estimated payload of 2,000 kg. [1] Agni-III has reportedly been in development since 1999. [2] Agni-III has been flight tested four times since 2006, and the Indian Defense Research and Development organization (DRDO) announced it as deployment ready. [3] DRDO has continued to test the missile since it entered into service in 2011. [4] The most recent test launch came in December of 2013, which was reported as successful. [5] An army spokesperson has stated that the Agni III could “strike Shanghai.” [6] The Agni-III was developed to complete the land portion of the nuclear triad. [7] However, U.S. military analysts still classify Agni-III as not yet deployed. [8]

Strategic Implications

With a range of over 3,200 km, Agni-III has the potential to strike both into China and Pakistan. However, to reach China, the missile would have to be launched at the very northeastern border of India. [9] Furthermore even though the Indian military has declared that Agni-III is operational, there is likely still some need for additional flight testing. [10] The development of this missile, however, does show the Indian government’s strong interest in developing a credible deterrent that can strike at both Pakistan and China. It also shows that the Indian military has continued to invest resources in developing increasingly long-range missiles.


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

[4] Ibid.

[5] Jatinder Tur, “Agni-Iii Test Fired Successfully,” Times of India, accessed June 25, 2014,http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Agni-III-test-fired-successfully/articleshow/27810334.cms .

[6] 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 .

[7] Ibid

[8] “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 .

[9] 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 .

[10] Ibid

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