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Agni-P Missile

  • 20 Dec 2021
  • 7 min read

For Prelims: Agni-P Missile, BrahMos supersonic cruise missile (air version), Vertical Launch Short Range Surface to Air Missile (VL-SRSAM), Nag, Akash, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), IGMDP.

For Mains: Missile Technology of India in comparison of other countries and related examples, Evolution of missile technology in India.

Why in News

Recently, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired the new generation nuclear-capable ballistic missile ‘Agni Prime’.

Key Points

  • About:
    • Agni-P is a two-stage canisterised solid propellant missile with dual redundant navigation and guidance system.
    • It has been termed as a new generation advanced variant of Agni class of missiles with improved parameters, including manoeuvring and accuracy.
      • Canisterisation of missiles reduces the time required to launch the missile while improving the storage and ease of handling.
    • The surface-to-surface ballistic missile has a range of 1,000 to 2,000 km.
  • Agni Class of Missiles:
    • Agni class of missiles are the mainstay of India’s nuclear launch capability, which also includes the Prithvi short-range ballistic missiles, submarine launched ballistic missiles and fighter aircraft.
      • Agni-V, an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a range of over 5,000 km, had been tested several times and validated for induction.
    • The Agni-P and Agni-5 ballistic missiles trace their origins back to the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), which was spearheaded by former DRDO chief and ex-Indian president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in the early 1980s.
  • Other Ranges of Agni Missiles:
    • Agni I: Range of 700-800 km.
    • Agni II: Range more than 2000 km.
    • Agni III: Range of more than 2,500 Km
    • Agni IV: Range is more than 3,500 km and can fire from a road mobile launcher.
    • Agni-V: The longest of the Agni series, an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a range of over 5,000 km.
  • Recently Tested Missile:

IGMDP (Integrated Guided Missile Development Program)

  • It was conceived by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to enable India attain self-sufficiency in the field of missile technology. It was approved by the Government of India in 1983 and completed in March 2012.
  • The 5 missiles (P-A-T-N-A) developed under this program are:
    • Prithvi: Short range surface to surface ballistic missile.
    • Agni: Ballistic missiles with different ranges, i.e. Agni (1,2,3,4,5)
    • Trishul: Short range low level surface to air missile.
    • Nag: 3rd generation anti-tank missile.
    • Akash: Medium range surface to air missile.

History of Missile Technology in India

  • About:
    • Before Independence, several kingdoms in India were using rockets as part of their warfare technologies.
    • At the time of Independence, India did not have any indigenous missile capabilities.
    • The government created the Special Weapon Development Team in 1958.
      • This was later expanded and called the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), which moved from Delhi to Hyderabad by 1962.
    • In 1972, Project Devil, for the development of a medium range Surface-to-Surface Missile was initiated.
    • By 1982, DRDL was working on several missile technologies under the Integrated Guided Missiles Development Programme (IGMDP).
  • Kind of Missiles India Have:
    • Surface-Launched Systems:
      • Anti-Tank Guided Missile:
      • Surface-to-Air Missile:
      • Medium-Range Sam:
        • Production of MRSAM systems for the Navy is complete, and it is placing its order
      • Short-Range Sam:
        • For the Navy, the first flight tests have been successfully conducted.
    • Several Air-Launched Systems:
  • Most Important India’s Missile:
    • Agni (range around 5,000):
      • It is India’s only contender for an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), which is available with only a few countries.
    • Prithvi:
      • It is a short-range surface-to-surface missile with a 350 km range and has strategic uses.
        • India also tested a anti-satellite system in April 2019.
        • A modified anti-ballistic missile named Prithvi Defence Vehicle Mk 2 was used to hit a low-orbit satellite.
        • It put India only behind the US, Russia and China in this capability.
  • Hypersonic Technology:
    • India is just behind the US, Russia and China.
    • DRDO successfully tested a Hypersonic Technology Demonstrated Vehicle (HSTDV) in September 2020, and demonstrated its hypersonic air-breathing scramjet technology.
  • Missile technology of India in Comparison to (Pakistan and China):
    • India:
      • Under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMP) first came Prithvi, then Agni.
      • BrahMos, at 2.5-3 times the speed of sound, was among the fastest in the world when developed.
      • India is working on Agni VI and Agni VII, which should have a much longer range.
    • China and Pakistan:
      • While China is ahead of India, a “lot of things about China are psychological”.
      • China has given Pakistan the technology, “but getting a technology and really using it, and thereafter evolving and adopting a policy is totally different”.
      • India does not call BrahMos nuclear, it can be used.
      • India’s only nuclear missiles are Prithvi and Agni, but beyond those, tactical nuclear weapons can be fired from some Indian Air Force fighter jets or from Army guns, which have a low range, around 50 km.

Source: TH

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