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India
18 Jan 2018

#DefenseDiaries: India test-fires nuclear-capable missile Agni-V in final configuration

With another trial, Agni-V moves towards induction

India tested the nuclear-capable Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) today in its final configuration from the Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast.

"We have successfully launched the Agni-V," Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

However, there's no word on whether it had met necessary parameters.

More user-trials are required before it is produced in enough numbers for induction into the Strategic Forces Command (SFC).

In context

With another trial, Agni-V moves towards induction

A brief history about the Agni-V

The Agni-V was developed in 2007. Like all Agni missiles, it too is under the authority of the SFC. With its range of over 5,000km, the Agni-V is India's first ICBM. It has undergone four experimental tests before, in April'12, September'13, January'15 and December'16.

Agni-V, India's first ICBM, developed as a deterrent to China

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Agni-V, India's first ICBM, developed as a deterrent to China

Agni I, II and III, with shorter ranges, are more suitable for targeting Pakistan, but the longer-range Agni IV and V are widely accepted as a deterrent to China.

With its strike range of over 5,000km, the Agni-V will be able to reach China's northernmost parts.

Beijing had said they believed its range to be 8,000 km. India, however, has maintained ambiguity.

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India's ballistic missile arsenal by range

For short range ballistic missiles with ranges between 300-1,000km, India has Prithvi, which has a range of 350-600km.

In the medium range ballistic missile category (1,000-3,500km), India has Agni-I (700-1,250km), Agni-II (2,000km) and Agni-III (3,000km).

The 4,000km Agni-IV falls in the intermediate ballistic missile category (3,500-5,000km).

And finally, in the intercontinental ballistic missile category (greater than 5,500km) comes Agni-V with a range of 5,500-5,800km.

India to join a super-exclusive club with Agni-V's induction

SFC

India to join a super-exclusive club with Agni-V's induction

The SFC was established in 2003 to supervise India's nuclear arsenal. It is responsible for a myriad of services, from delivering nuclear weapons to selection of target area.

Almost all tasks require approval of the Nuclear Command Authority (NCA).

Agni-V's induction into the SFC will make India one of few countries with ICBMS. Only the US, Russia, China, France and UK possess similar weapons.

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