Agni V


India/U.S. Designation Agni-V
Missile Variants Agni-I/Agni-II/Agni-III/Agni-IV/Agni-VI
Mobility and Role Road-mobile/surface-to-surface/ Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile
Designer/Producer India
Range 5,000km+
Warhead Type and Weight Nuclear or Conventional/1,000kg
MIRV and Yield MIRV capable/20kt
Guidance System/Accuracy Inertial/GPS/10m CEP
Stages/Propellant Multistage/Solid
IOC/Retirement 2012/Still in service
Status/Number of Units Operational/ N/A


India is developing a solid-fueled three stage intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) known as the Agni-V. [1] The Agni-V is a three staged solid propellant missile with a range of over 5,000 km. [2] China though argues that the missile range could be up to 8,000 km. [3]   The weapon has a payload of 1.5 tons. [4]  However; the United States Air Force classifies the Agni-V as not yet deployed. [5] The first flight test of the Agni V was in April of 2012. [6] The Indian Defense research and Development Organization has claimed that the Agni-V will be outfitted with multiple independently-targeted re-entry-vehicles. That claim, however is viewed some suspicion due to the cost financially as well as potentially exacerbating the tension between India and China. [7]

Strategic Implications

The Agni-V missile using its 5,000 km range would be the first missile developed by the Indian military to reliably threaten Beijing. [8] Theoretically, this would be credible threat against China in the Indian government’s minimum deterrence policy. [9] However, the ability to strike China elicits a concerned reaction from the Chinese government. India and China have a history of conflict along their border. [10] While India has not achieved nuclear or conventional parity with China, India’s consistent pursuit of that parity causes some concern within the Chinese government according to China Central Television they do not believe that it “pose[s] a threat in reality”. [11]


[1] “Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat,” Air Force ISR Agency, accessed June 25, 2014,

[2] Ibid

[3] “India Country Profile: Missiles,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, accessed June 25, 2014, .

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid

[6] Ibid

[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, .

[8] Ibid.

[9] “India Country Profile: Missiles,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, accessed June 25, 2014, .

[10] David M Malone and Roha Mukherjee, “India and China: Conflict and Cooperation,” Survival, Vol. 52, February-March 2010, pp. 137-158

[11] Rahul Bedi, “India Test Launches Agni-v Long-Range Missile,” BBC News, April 19, 2012, accessed June 25, 2014, .

Missile Threat and Proliferation