Skip to comments.ICBM test to launch India into Big Five
Posted on 02/14/2009 12:28:25 AM PST by bruinbirdman
BANGALORE: India will test its most ambitious strategic missile next year, in what will be its first step towards having potent ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) capabilities, largely the preserve of the Big-5 countries till now.
With the design work on the 5,000-km-range Agni-V virtually over now, DRDO chief M Natarajan on Friday said the missile would certainly be tested before December 2010. "I am very confident we will be able to do it,'' he said, speaking on the sidelines of the Aero India-2009 show here.
The work on the nuclear-capable Agni-V basically revolves around incorporating a third composite stage in the two-stage Agni-III, along with some advanced technologies like ring laser gyroscope and accelerator for navigation and guidance.
Agni-III, with a strike range of 3,500-km to accord the capability to strike targets deep inside China, on its part, has been successfully tested only two times till now.
Defence scientists want the solid-fuelled Agni-V, for which the government has sanctioned around Rs 2,500 crore, to be a canister-launch missile system to ensure it has the requisite operational flexibility to be fired from any part of the country.
Agni-V will be slightly short of true ICBMs, which have ranges in excess of 5,500 km. "We have the capability to go in for much higher range but it is for the government to give a go-ahead. At present, we have a green signal for only Agni-V,'' said a scientist.
As reported recently by TOI, while China is several leagues ahead, India continues to lag behind even Pakistan in the missile race. At present, only the 150-to-350 km short range Prithvi missile can be said to be "fully operational'' in the armed forces. The 700-km Agni-I and 2,000-km Agni-II are still in the process of being inducted into the forces.
India, of course, hopes to gate-crash into the very exclusive club of countries like US, Russia and China, which have both ICBM as well as SLBM (submarine-launched ballistic missile) capabilities, by 2010-2011.
DRDO is working on the K-15 SLBM, having tested it from submersible pontoon launchers till now, with the aim to integrate it on the indigenous nuclear submarines being built under the secretive ATV (advanced technology vessel) project.
Though not in the range of the over 5,000-km SLBMs in the arsenal of US, Russia and China, the 750-km range K-15 will accord India with the desperately-needed third leg of the "nuclear weapon triad''. India currently depends on the Agni missiles as well as fighters like Mirage-2000s as its platforms to deliver nuclear weapons.
DRDO, of course, is also going to shortly conduct the third test of the fledgling two-tier BMD (ballistic missile defence) system, capable of tracking and destroying incoming hostile missiles both inside (endo) and outside (exo) the earth's atmosphere.
The BMD system was tested for the first time in November 2006 when an "exo-atmospheric'' hypersonic interceptor missile was used to destroy an "enemy'' Prithvi missile at an altitude of 40-50 km.
The second time, in December 2007, an "endo-atmospheric interceptor'' took on an enemy missile at an altitude of 15-km. "After the third test in a month or so, we will test the endo and exo together in an integrated mode later this year,'' said a scientist.
This thing should be able to hit Beijing and Moscow.
Beijing, Moscow, and Mecca.
This is just BS from journalistic ignorance.
India already had ICBM capabilities about 20 or so years ago when they launched their satellite launch vehicles. Probably decades before that. All they need to do is change the coat of paint on it to make it look more military and less civilian.
The only thing forcing India from a formal announcement of a globe-covering ICBM is political sensitivity. An ICBM in India’s arsenal that can cover the globe will only mean a threat for America, and Europe. India is not interested in sending such a message; neither does it need to do so. Both are the least of India’s threats.
For China, 3500 or so kms of range is more than enough.
India is separated from China by some of the highest and densest mountain ranges in the world. I think a more immediate concern, for India, is Tehran and Islamabad. And I cheer at the thought of Indian nuclear-armed submarine cruising the waters near those two capitals. We need India as an ally.
Range is always a factor of payload. As the range issues you discussed are logical, I think the better question to ask is, what are the Indians planning on putting on top of those China bound ICBMs that is so much heavier?
Agni-3 ranges from launch sites marked with a '+'. Missiles are road/rail mobile. Everything fits in a platform mounted on a truck.
The Agni-3 can do 4,500 km range and carry a max. payload weight of 2490 kg.
I have met, worked with, and been friends with quite a few Indians over the years.
They are a very spiritual, non-aggressive, intelligent and inquisitive people.
I cannot help but have the utmost respect for them.
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