India has successfully test-fired its nuclear capable surface-to-surface Agni-5 ballistic missile from a test range off the Odisha coast. The home-grown intercontinental range missile, with a strike range of 5,000 kilometres, is the most potent and longest range in its class in India. With Agni-5, India can reach almost all of China and most of Europe.
According to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the three-stage, 17-metre tall, two-metre wide Agni-5 is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead of about 1.5 tonnes. Agni 5 is a fire and forget missile, which once fired cannot be stopped, except by an interceptor missile which only the US, Russia and Israel have.
The missile was launched with the help of a mobile launcher from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at 9.48 am, defence sources said. The missile covered its full distance during the trial which was a total success, they said.
This was the sixth trial of the state-of-the-art Agni-5. Before this, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had conducted five tests of the Agni-5 missile, the last one on January 18 this year. The first test was conducted on April 19, 2012.
The missile was tested from Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast. Describing the trial as “fully successful”, sources told Press Trust of India that the sophisticated missile travelled for 19 minutes and covered 4,900 km.
The Agni-5 was last tested on December 26, 2016. The first two successful flights of Agni-5 in 2012 and 2013 were in open configuration. The missile will eventually join the arsenal of the tri-Service Strategic Forces Command.
With Agni-5, India will join the super-exclusive club of countries with ICBMs or intercontinental ballistic missiles (with a range of over 5,000-5,500 km); the others are the US, Britain, Russia, China and France.