Ballistic missile Agni-IV test-fired as part of user trial

November 9, 2015

The Times of India:

In pre-Diwali fireworks over the Bay of Bengal, India on Monday successfully tested the nuclear-capable Agni-IV ballistic missile, which has a strike range of 4,000-km, from the A P J Abdul Kalam Island (formerly Wheeler Island) off Odisha coast. The user trial by the tri-Service Strategic Forces Command (SFC), which saw the two-stage missile being fired from a mobile launcher at 9.45am, met all mission parameters, said DRDO officials.

The country’s most formidable missile, the over 5,000-km Agni-V, in turn is slated to be tested in January-February. While the Agni-I (700-km), Agni-II (2,000-km) and Agni-III (3,000-km) have already been inducted by SFC, the Agni-IV and Agni-V are currently undergoing developmental and user trials before their induction can take place in another two to three years. Before Monday, the Agni-IV had undergone one failed and four successful tests over the last five years, with the last one being conducted in December 2014.

The Agni-V, in turn, has been tested three times till now. The last test of Agni-V on January 30 this year was significant since it saw the missile being fired for the first time from a canister, which is designed to give the armed forces the requisite operational flexibility to swiftly transport and fire it from anywhere they want. The road-mobile Agni-IV and Agni-V are meant for deterrence against China, which can target any Indian city with its formidable inventory of long-range missiles. Once fully operational, Agni-V will also bring the northernmost part of China within its strike envelope, making it India’s first true intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

The worry remains the lack of an operational submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) to complete India’s nuclear weapons triad. It will become a reality only after the indigenous nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant becomes fully operational. INS Arihant is currently undergoing extensive sea trials, which will include test-firing of the K-15 (750-km) SLBM, in the near future, say officials…

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