New Delhi: Come Wednesday and India may join a select club of countries that possess or are about to possess an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).
Hectic preparations are on for the launch of Agni-V missile that day from the Wheeler Island off the Orissa Coast.
Designed and developed by India's Defence Research And Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists, the three-stage missile is scheduled to be launched from a mobile launcher.
'Nuclear capable Agni-V to be tested soon'
With a range of 5,000 km, Agni-V, once validated and inducted into the armed forces after several more tests couple of years down the line, will be India's longest-range missile which can carry a nuclear warhead.
Seventeen metres tall and 50 tonnes in weight, Agni-V's three stages are powered by solid propellants. It will have the capacity to carry a nuclear warhead weighing over one tonne, DRDO scientists have said.
The Hindu newspaper quoted Avinash Chander, Chief Controller (Missiles and Strategic Systems), DRDO, describing Agni-V's technology as a "game-changer" for strategic options. Except the US, Russia, France and China, no other country had designed and developed this range of systems, he said.
Earlier last month, DRDO chief, Dr VK Saraswat had told reporters that India will break into the exclusive ICBM club once the 50-tonne Agni-V is ready for induction by 2014-2015. The Agni series of missiles, including Agni-V, is crucial for India's defence vis-a-vis China since Beijing has upped the ante in recent times by deploying missiles in Tibet Autonomous Region bordering India. http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/ag...-launch-197949
SNEAK PEAK: Agni V being readied for launch at Wheeler Island
In the remote Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast, the countdown has begun for the first test of India's most sophisticated and powerful ballistic missile ever built, Agni V. If all goes well, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) which built the missile, is expected to launch Agni V on Wednesday, April 18, from the Island. With a planned range of 5,000 km, the Agni V will traverse 2,000 km more than any Indian missile has ever done. Wednesday's launch will see the missile first power its way to a vertical height of 500 km in the atmosphere before following a ballistic trajectory that will see it splash down in the Indian Ocean way beyond Indonesia. A commercial jetliner would take over six hours to traverse such a distance. But Agni V, travelling at 24 times the speed of sound and 30 times faster than a commercial jet, will traverse that distance in just 18 to 20 minutes. In doing so, it will become not just the longest range ballistic missile in India's strategic armoury but also its fastest. Most importantly, Agni V would put most of China's major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, within Indian missile range.
But then again why do Britian,france have a 10,000 km+ ICBMs?
The British strategic and tactical nuclear deterrence relies on 4 submarines each with 16 SLBMs.
When your assets have to be in the South Atlantic to ensure survivability, you sort of could use that range to make sure you can deter your traditional hypothetical enemies.
Unfortunately for India, its major military rivals and nuclear threats are within 3000 miles. To improve its security, money would be better spent improving survivability and reliability instead of range.