Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ocean's 5: An overview on underwater nuclear missiles

Ocean's 5: An overview on underwater nuclear missiles

Ever since the first submarine-launched missiles were fired by the Germans in World War-II, underwater missiles have remained weaopns of high strategic importance. Unlike thier aerial and terresterial counterparts, underwater nuclear missiles are not prone to the first strikes of the enemy, which makes them a tremendously potent proposition.

Ocean's 5: An overview on underwater nuclear missiles

A Tomahawk cruise missile is seen emerging from the ocean after being launched from the USS Florida, a 560-foot missile submarine based out of Norfolk.

The era of the Cold War witnessed the Americans and Russians making enormous investments in nuclear science research. Significant breakthroughs were made in the field of underwater nuclear missiles during this time. Later, other superpowers and emerging superpowers followed suit and joined the race. Now, with the development of Shaurya, which can carry a one-tonne nuclear warhead over a distance of 750 kms, India too have made its own strong statement.

In this section, we take a look at the five of the best and the deadliest underwater nuclear missiles in the business.

The Trident Missile-USA

Trident II D-5 is the sixth generation member of the U.S. Navy's Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) program which started in 1956. A sophisticated submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) designed by Lockheed Martin Space Systems in the United States with multiple independently-targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) capability, the Trident is armed with nuclear warheads and is launched from nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs)

Trident I (designated C4) was deployed in 1979 . It was later phased out in the 1990s and the early 2000s. Trident II (D5) was first deployed in 1990, and was planned to be in service for the thirty-year-life of the submarines, until 2027. Trident missiles are also provided to the United Kingdom under the terms of the 1963 Polaris Sales Agreement. the agreement was modified in 1982 for Trident.

R-29RM Shtil-Russia

The R-29RM is a three-stage liquid-propellant missile carrying four or ten MIRV. Compared to the R-29R the missile has a larger launch weight (40.3 to 35.5 Tons) providing a heavier payload (2800 kg to 1650 kg) to a greater maximum range (8300 to 8000 km).

It is designed to be launched from the Russian Delta IV submarine, each of which is capable of carrying 16 missiles. It carries four 100kT warheads and has a range of about 8,500 kilometres. A derivative, the R-29RMU Sineva, entered service in 2007.

RSM-56 "Bulava", also known as Bulava-30, is expected to be in service in 2009. The missile has suffered repeated test failures, the latest being in December 2009.


The M45 SLBM, the French Navy's submarine launched ballistic missile, is the fourth missile in the MSBS (Mer-Sol-Balistique-Strategique) family which comprises a number of submarine-launched, intermediate range missiles.

The M-4 missile entered service in 1985. The current MSBS force is based on nuclear-powered submarines SNLE (Sous-marines Nucleaire Lanceur d'Engins balistique), each able to carry 16 missiles. Presently, there are 16 (one boat load) M-4A missiles and 48 (three boat loads) M-4B missiles in service.

M51 SLBM is under development and is expected to enter service by 2010.

Ocean's 5: An overview on underwater nuclear missiles

The US Navy launches a Trident II, D-5 missile from the submerged submarine USS Tennessee in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.


The JL-2 is a Chinese second generation intercontinental-range submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). JL-2 has a two-stage, solid-liquid fuelled propulsion design. Though accurate specifications are unavialable, missile is considered to be able to deliver its payload(s) up to a range of 7,200 km, (4,500 miles) to 8,000 km (5,000 miles) and could carry either single or multiple warheads (conventional or nuclear).

The JL-2 missile is expected to provide China with its first credible sea-based nuclear deterrent. The expected operational range of the missile (up to 8,000 km or 5,000 miles) will allow it to reach Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Russia, and India but not the continental United States from Chinese littoral waters (Bohai Sea or South China Sea).


India's undersea deterrent had so far revolved around the K-15 ballistic missile, built with significant help from Russia. The K-15 was to equip the INS Arihant, India's lone nuclear-powered submarine, which is being constructed in Visakhapatnam. But now, after rigorous underwater testing, the Shaurya is expected to be the mainstay of Arihant's arsenal. Shaurya can carry a one-tonne nuclear warhead over 750 kilometers, and is specially designed to be fired from Indian submarines. If launched from a submarine off the China coast, it could hit several Chinese cities like Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai.

Before Shaurya entered the fray, India's underwater nuclear missile was Sagarika. Capable of a range of 700 kilometres, Sagarika formed part of the triad in India's nuclear deterrence, providing retaliatory nuclear strike capability.

Shaurya surfaces as India's underwater nuclear missile

The country’s top defence scientist has, for the first time, revealed that India’s new Shaurya missile, which can carry a one-tonne nuclear warhead over 750 kilometers, is specially designed to be fired from Indian submarines and could form the crucial third leg of India’s nuclear deterrent.

If launched from a submarine off the China coast, it could hit several Chinese cities like Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai.

Air and land-based nuclear weapons are delivered to their targets by fighter aircraft and ballistic missiles, respectively. Since these can be knocked out by an enemy first strike, the most reliable nuclear deterrent has traditionally been underwater, missiles hidden in a submarine.

V K Saraswat, the DRDO chief and Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, revealed to Business Standard at the ongoing Defexpo 2010, “We have designed the Shaurya so that it can be launched from under water as easily as from land. The gas-filled canister that houses the missile fits easily into a submarine. The underwater leg of the nuclear triad needs to be totally reliable and needs a state-of-the-art missile.”

India’s undersea deterrent had so far revolved around the K-15 ballistic missile, built with significant help from Russia. The K-15 was to equip the INS Arihant, India’s lone nuclear-powered submarine, which is being constructed in Visakhapatnam. But now, after rigorous underwater testing, the Shaurya could be the mainstay of Arihant’s arsenal.

Technically, a foreign entity that wants to start a business that does not come under the automatic approval route must approach the Foreign Investment Approval Board (FIPB) for approval. This includes any foreign entity that wants to provide services in “commodity broking activities”. Other activities that are similar in nature like stock broking and forex broking come under the automatic route.

DIPP’s argument is that since commodity broking is conceptually similar to stock and forex broking, the participation of foreign entities as broker-members though appropriate legal entities on the commodity exchanges would lead to more maturity in the Indian commodity derivative markets. A few foreign-owned broking houses have been active on the commodity exchanges since 2003-04. All of them have opened subsidiaries in India.

Experts in the commodity broking business say the real issue will arise while regulating the overseas entities on domestic commodity exchanges, since the regulator — the Forward Markets Commission — is not equipped with the powers and regulations to regulate multinational broking companies.

“The Shaurya was developed from ground up as a submarine-capable missile,” confirms Dr Prahlada, the top DRDO scientist responsible for liaising with the military. “Every piece of technology for fitting it in a submarine is already in place.”

Shortly before the Defexpo 2010, Dr Saraswat had publicly stated that India’s missile technology was ahead of China’s and Pakistan’s.

Now top DRDO scientists have revealed that the Shaurya is not a ballistic missile, as it has been thought to be; it is actually a hypersonic cruise missile, which never leaves the atmosphere.

A ballistic missile is like a stone being lobbed towards a target. Rockets toss it upwards and towards the target; after the rocket burns out, gravity pulls the missile warhead down towards the target. Buffeted by wind and re-entry forces, accuracy is a problem; and, since the ballistic missile’s path is predictable, shooting it down is relatively easy.

The Shaurya has none of these issues. Its solid-fuel, two-stage rocket accelerates the missile to six times the speed of sound before it reaches an altitude of 40 kilometers (125,000 feet), after which it levels out and cruises towards the target, powered by its onboard fuel.

While ballistic missiles cannot correct their course midway, the Shaurya is an intelligent missile. Onboard navigation computers kick in near the target, guiding the missile to the target and eliminating errors that inevitably creep in during its turbulent journey.

The Shaurya, say DRDO sources, will strike within 20-30 metres of its target after travelling 750 kilometres.

Conventional cruise missiles, like the American Tomahawk and the Indo-Russian Brahmos, offer similar accuracy. But their air-breathing engines carry them along slowly, rendering them vulnerable to enemy aircraft and missiles. The Shaurya’s solid-fuel, air-independent engine propels it along at hypersonic speeds, leaving enemy fighters and missiles far behind.

“I would say the Shaurya is a hybrid propulsion missile”, says Dr Saraswat. “Like a ballistic missile, it is powered by solid fuel. And, like a cruise missile, it can guide itself right up to the target.”

Making the Shaurya even more capable is its ability to manoeuvre, following a twisting path to the target that makes it very difficult to shoot it down. In contrast, a ballistic missile is predictable; its trajectory gives away its target and its path to it.

Indian Missile Overview

Missile Overview


India views its nuclear weapons and long-range power projection programs as the key to maintaining strategic stability in the Asia-Pacific region, deterring Pakistan, safeguarding against potential nuclear threats from China, and attaining great-power status. India's strategic missile programs have matured to the extent that New Delhi can now deploy short- and medium-range nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles in an operational mode against Pakistan and China. Four decades of investments in a missile-related design, development, and manufacturing infrastructure have also made this sector less vulnerable to long-term disruption by technology denial regimes. More significantly, India's sophisticated civilian satellite launch capability makes it one of the few developing states theoretically capable of building anintercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)[1]

India continues its wide-ranging pursuit of ballistic and cruise missile capabilities. It carried out two successful tests of its 3,000-3,500 km range Agni-III ballistic missile in April 2007 and May 2008, and successfully tested the K-15 (Sagarika) submarine-launched ballistic missile in February and November 2008. Apart from its ballistic missile arsenal, India has inducted the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, the product of an Indian-Russian joint venture.

Historical Overview

India's missile programs can be roughly divided into five phases. During the first phase (1958-1970), India's missile ambitions were confined to building a first-generation anti-tank missile (ATGM) and developing a three-ton thrust, liquid-fueled rocket engine most likely based on the Soviet SA-2 sustainer motor. Both projects were undertaken by theDefence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) with the objective of gaining scientific expertise and creating a technological infrastructure to eventually build modern missiles indigenously; there were no plans for the immediate serial production of missile systems. However, the DRDO's technical and organizational shortcomings, opposition from the armed services, and weak support from politicians and civilian bureaucrats in the federal government resulted in the failure and ultimate termination of both projects.[4]

Phase II of India's missile program spans the decade of the 1970s. During this period, the DRDO undertook two significant projects. The first, Project Devil, was an attempt to "reverse-engineer" the Soviet SA-2 surface-to-air missile (SAM). The second, Project Valiant, was an ambitious attempt to develop a 1,500 kilometer (km)-range ballistic missile. Design competence and political symbolism were the primary objectives of both projects. However, India lacked the scientific, engineering, and industrial base to build a long-range ballistic missile. Due to faltering progress, the Indian government terminated the Valiant program in 1974. Project Devil, however, proved to be a partial success. Although Indian engineers were unable to reverse-engineer the SA-2 missile system entirely, they apparently succeeded in developing two solid-fuel boosters and a three-ton, liquid-sustainer engine for the Devil missile.[5]

The Indian government revived the flailing missile program in 1980 and in 1983 launched the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) to develop a family of strategic and tactical guided missiles. The IGMDP involved the development of two strategic ballistic missile systems: two variants of a short-range ballistic missile (Prithvi), and a medium-range technology demonstrator (Agni). Under the program, the DRDO also sought to develop medium- and short-range SAMs (Akash and Trishul), and a third-generation ATGM (Nag). The years 1980-1994, the third phase in India's missile program, marked a crucial turning point. During this period, India's forays into missile building were transformed from exercises in technology-gathering, reverse-engineering, and design competence into a full-fledged program to build a series of operational missile systems. By 1996-1997, the successful development of the Prithvi-I (150km-range) provided India with the technical option to deploy a limited nuclear strike capability against Pakistan. Similarly, two successful flight-tests of the 1,400km-range Agni missile validated India's "re-entry vehicle" technology. The Agni program thus served as a building block for the design and development of longer-range ballistic missile systems—systems that would provide India with a nuclear-strike capability against China in the future.[6]

The fourth phase of India's strategic missile program stretches from the mid-1990s until 2000. This phase was characterized by the partial success of IGMDP, and limited serial production of the Prithvi and Agni ballistic missiles. As a result of the armed services commitment to purchase indigenous missile systems, the DRDO shifted its focus from technology demonstration to modifying missile systems to meet the field requirements of the user in terms of deployment and operability. Capitalizing on its successes with the Prithvi and Agni, the DRDO embarked on programs to develop shorter- and longer-range versions of the Agni (Agni-II and Agni-III), a supersonic cruise missile (BrahMos) with Russian collaboration, and a naval variant of the Prithvi (Dhanush). The DRDO also began developing a sea-launched ballistic missile, the Sagarika, which is expected to become operational by 2010. In addition, India has sought U.S., Russian and Israeli collaboration in the development of an anti-tactical ballistic missile (ATBM) system.[7]

During the fifth phase, which roughly stretches from 2001 until the present, DRDO has sought to improve the performance of the ballistic missiles developed during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Key initiatives in this phase include the incorporation of features to improve the "hit to kill" capabilities of the missiles and the use of newer and lighter materials in the construction of the missile systems.[8] Among other priorities are projects to manufacture BrahMos variants for the different services; the hypersonic variant of the BrahMos; the development of "smart" missiles that are smaller, lighter, more agile, and capable of more accurately homing on targets; and the development of hypersonic vehicles, nanotechnologies, homing guidance, very large systems integration, miniaturized electro-mechanical systems, system on chip, and newer materials such as ceramics and lightweight composites.[9] The DRDO has also made some progress building its anti-ballistic missile capability.

Indian defense planners are also looking toward introducing basic changes in the missile development process. In January 2008, the Indian government announced that the IGMDP would end by the close of the year.[2][3] The focus will now be on serial production of the missiles that are part of the program and for some specific missile systems, foreign collaboration will be considered.[3]

Current Development / Operational Status of Strategic Missile Programs


Developmental work on the single-stage, liquid-engine Prithvi ballistic missile started in the early 1980s.[10] Flight-tests of the 150km-range/1,000 kilogram (kg)-payload, army-version of the missile (Prithvi-I/SS-150) began in 1987[11] and lasted until late 1993. Subsequent to user trials with the Indian Army in 1994, the missile entered serial production at Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh).[12] Special missile groups under the Strategic Forces Command have been raised for the Prithvi-I, the 333, 444, and 555 missile groups.[108] During peacetime, the missiles and their support equipment are reportedly stored in Secunderabad, Jalandhar (Punjab), and Jammu (Jammu &Kashmir).[13] As of 2009, less than 50 Prithvi-I launchers have been deployed, although the army's originally placed order stands at 75 missiles.[108][100]

Flight-tests of the 250km-range/500kg-payload, Indian Air Force (IAF)-version of the Prithvi (Prithvi-2/SS-250) started in 1993.[16] The IAF subsequently inducted the Prithvi-II in 2004.[17] Nevertheless, some reports in 2005 stated that the IAF was not too keen on the Prithvi-II and favored acquisition of an air-launched version of the BrahMos.[18] The IAF's two missile squadrons—one of which may be called the 2203 Squadron—are reportedly based in Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh).[19] However, the missiles will be moved closer to the border with Pakistan during a crisis or war. The IAF's Prithvi-II inventory is estimated at 25, although IAF's slated order is for a total of 63 such missiles.[20] [100]

The army's variant of the Prithvi-II was test-fired in May 2008 for the first time since the missile was handed over to the army in 2006.[17][21] This test was also the first with an extended range of 350 km for the army version.[17] Since then, the army's Prithvi-II was most recently tested twice on October 12, 2009 and previously in April 2009, as part of user trials by army units under the Strategic Forces Command.[99, 101] The army has ordered 62 Prithvi-II missiles.[100]

The third variant of this missile is the Prithvi-III, versions of which have been referred to variously as Dhanush, Sagarika, and K-15 (The K-15/Sagarika is now understood to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile). In 1998, the DRDO had announced that it was developing a 350km-range, naval-version of the Prithvi (Dhanush/SS-350).[23] The first test of the Dhanush in April 2000 ended in failure.[24] However, after two subsequent successful tests, the DRDO declared in September 2002 that Dhanush was "ready for induction after successful trials at sea."[25] In October 2004, DRDO conducted the first successful underwater launch of the Dhanush from an especially designed canister placed in an artificial body of water.[26][27]

The DRDO also declared a subsequent off-shore flight-test of the Dhanush in November 2004 from the INS Subhadra a success.[28] The fourth test of the Dhanush took place in March 2007.[123] The navy has ordered this missile for the INS Subhadra and the INS Suvarna.[100]

Prithvi also has a role in India's pursuit of an anti-ballistic missile capability. Variants of the Prithvi, including the Prithvi-II, were used in "attacker" and "interceptor" mode in the tests of India's fledgling anti-ballistic missile system in November 2006, December 2007, and March 2009.[30] [124]

The Prithvi is mainly a Pakistan-specific missile system and has reportedly been configured for nuclear delivery. [If the Sagarika or Dhanush or the K-15 are versions of the Prithvi-III, then this missile would form the mainstay of India's submarine launched ballistic missile arsenal, which has China as its primary focus as part of New Delhi's quest for a triad of delivery systems.] In addition, the DRDO has designed a variety of conventional warheads for use in different battlefield support roles. The Indian government is believed to have upgraded the alert status of some nuclear-capable Prithvi missile units during the Kargil war with Pakistan (May-July 1999),[31] and during the Indo-Pakistani military standoff that lasted from December 2001 until October 2002.[32] Reports in 2003, however, stated that the Indian government no longer planned to use the Prithvi as a nuclear delivery system. Instead the missiles would be armed with conventional warheads and be used as long-range artillery to attack Pakistan's strategic and theater reserves.[33] However, as of 2008, the Prithvi-I and the Prithvi-III both remained part of India's existing and proposed nuclear delivery systems.[34][35]


In the early 1980s, the hybrid, two-stage (solid-motor/liquid-engine) Agni was conceived as a "technology demonstrator" (TD) to test propulsion, staging, and re-entry technologies for applications in medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missile systems. Work on the 1,200-1,500km-range/1,000kg-payload Agni TD most likely began in 1983. Between 1989 and 1994, the DRDO conducted three developmental flight-tests, of which two were successful.[36] Although flight-tests were suspended between 1995 and 1998, research and development on an improved variant continued uninterrupted.[37] Testing was revived in 1999.[38] Between April 1999 and August 2004, the DRDO conducted three successful developmental flight tests of the rail-/road-mobile, two-stage, all solid-fueled, 2,000-2,500km-range/1,000kg-payload Agni-II.[39]

In 1999, the Indian government approved the development of a rail-/road-mobile, single-stage, solid-motor, 700-800km-range/1,000kg-payload variant of the Agni missile. This variant, which was later dubbed the "Agni-I," was conceived as a bridge between the short-range Prithvi and the longer-range Agni-TD and Agni-II ballistic missiles. Between January 2002 and June 2004, the short-range variant of the Agni was successfully tested three times.[40] Although the Indian government stated in 2006 that the Agni I & II have been inducted into the armed forces, it is unclear to what extent they have actually been operationalized [87], with an Indian news report in October 2009 also stating that the Agni-I and Agni-II were yet to be inducted.[100] The Agni-II was most recently tested in May 2009, and included a new high-accuracy navigation system.[110]

After years of rumors that a test of the 3,000-4,000 km-range variant of the Agni ballistic missile, the Agni III, was imminent, India finally flight-tested the missile on 9 July 2006. However, the missile, which is 16 meters tall, weighs 48 tons, and can deliver a 1.5 ton warhead, failed within 50 seconds of launch. DRDO officials initially suggested that the failure likely resulted due to separation problems between the two-stage missile's first and second stages.[42] Subsequently, the Agni-III was successfully tested in April 2007 and May 2008. According to a senior defense scientist, a "truly deliverable version" was tested in May 2008 and that the missile was ready for induction into the armed forces.[44] Reports in 2009 said that the Agni-III would be tested in July that year, but no such test took place at that time.[107]

The Agni missiles have been designed and developed for delivering nuclear munitions. Despite earlier suggestions of the Agni's potential conventional role, this is now unlikely for reasons of cost-effectiveness and accuracy.[46] The Agni-I will most probably replace the Prithvi for nuclear-targeting missions against Pakistan. Although the longer-range variants of the Agni will be capable of targeting Pakistan as well (the Agni-I, with its 700 km range is probably Pakistan-specific), they are primarily being developed to give India a nuclear deterrent capability against China.[45]

Reports in May 2008 stated that the Indian government has given the go-ahead to develop the Agni-V missile, with a range of 5,500 km.[47] [48] [102] The missile will be tested by December 2010, according to the DRDO.[102] With the Agni-V, India will be able to credibly target parts of northeastern China (including Beijing) from launchers that do not necessarily have to be located close to the border with China. The Agni-V was not part of the original IGMDP which provided the framework for India's missile development plans since 1983.[47] The missile will involve adding a third stage to the two-stage Agni-III. The Agni-V will be solid-fuelled and canister-launched to allow flexible options in terms of launching it from most parts of India.[102, 103]

The Agni-V is also slated to be equipped with Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs), although this would require several years of extensive testing.[106] MIRVs are considered essential toward strengthening the credibility of New Delhi's second-strike capability as it would increase its ability to inflict unacceptable damage on the adversary after absorbing the adversary's first-strike.[106]


Increasingly, a key component of India's missile force is the BrahMos cruise missile. This is a 280-300km-range/200-300kg-payload, supersonic cruise missile developed by a partnership with the Russian entity, NPO Mashinostroyeniye. The partnership BrahMos Aersopace. was registered in 1995, and joint development work on the missile began in 1998.[50] Derived from the Russian anti-ship missile called the Yakhont, the BrahMos is a dual-mode cruise missile, with its primary mode as an anti-ship missile, with a backup capability to attack shore-based, radio-contrast targets. The missile features a two-stage propulsion system employing a solid propellant booster with a liquid ramjet engine. Russia is believed to be primarily responsible for the propulsion system and systems integration, while India has responsibility for the on-board guidance system.[51] The missile was tested several times between June 2001 and November 2004.[55] During two tests conducted in November 2003 and 2004 respectively, the missile was successfully used to destroy a moving target from a warship at sea.[56] The missile is now in serial production.

The BrahMos was originally planned for a coastal defense (land-to-ship) role but in recent years it has been tasked with multiple objectives — Navy (ship-to-ship) and Army (land-to-land). In addition, work continues on submarine-launch and air-to-air versions.[57] Developmental flight tests of the naval variant of the BrahMos were reportedly completed in 2004.[58] The missile has since been inducted into the Navy.

In March 2008, the Indian government conducted the first test of the naval version of the BrahMos against a land target, confirming its sea-to-land attack capability.[59] Subsequently, the naval variant was tested in December 2008 in a vertical launch configuration.[112] The DRDO is also developing a submarine-launch version and an air-to-air version of the BrahMos. For these versions, the Navy's Kilo-class submarines and the Air Force's Sukhoi aircraft are likely to be used.[61] According to the DRDO, the air force version of the missile will be inducted in 2012, with flight trials to strike the target commencing in 2011.[116]

India is also developing an Army variant of the missile. India conducted two successful tests of the Army variant in June and December 2004[63], and the Army began to take delivery of the missile in June 2007. Two regiments of the army have been equipped with the "Block-I" version of the BrahMos.[113] A "Block-II" variant was tested four times in January-March and July 2009, with the latter three tests being successful.[114, 115, 117] Advanced seeker software on the Block-II variant seeks to increase the accuracy of the missile by enabling it to select the required target from among other, smaller targets.[113, 117] Following the tests in the first half of 2009, this variant is ready for induction into the army.[117]

India and Russia have also agreed to develop a hypersonic version of the BrahMos, termed BrahMos-II, by 2015.[118] This version will be based on a scramjet engine.[118] Reports in May 2008 also stated that the DRDO is developing a hypersonic (i.e., with a speed of over Mach 5) missile that can also be used as a long-range cruise missile.[65] The project, termed the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) project is being developed in collaboration with the Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI).[66]

India and Russia have announced plans to export the BrahMos to friendly "third countries" with mutual consent. In 2004, BrahMos Aerospace Ltd. had signed an agreement with Russia's main arms export agency—Rosoboronexport—to market the missile in the international market.[69] Production facilities for the BrahMos are being established in India and Russia; 20 Indian and 10 Russian companies are expected to participate in its manufacture.[68] About 14 countries have been identified by BrahMos Aerospace as potential buyers of the missile.[116]


In July 2007, Indian defense scientists announced the proposed development of a new cruise missile system, the Nirbhay (Fearless). Nirbhay will be a 1,000 km-range subsonic cruise missile that can be deployed on multiple platforms.[70] A technology demonstrator is scheduled to be completed in early 2009. With its terrain-hugging capability, the missile would be able to avoid detection ground radar.[70]

K-15 (Sagarika)

In February 2008, India tested its K-15 submarine-launched ballistic missile from a submerged pontoon in the Bay of Bengal. This missile had been tested four times previously, although with very little publicity.[71] Subsequently, in November 2008, the K-15 was successfully tested from a land-based launcher.[120] The K-15 (previously called the Sagarika or "Oceanic") will be stationed on India's new nuclear-powered submarine, INS Arihant, which was launched for trials in July 2009.[111]

The K-15 is a two-stage missile that weighs about 7 tons and can carry nuclear warheads that weight up to 600 kg over a range of about 700 km.[71] [75] [120] The Sagarika program is believed to be driven by India's long-term goals to achieve a secure sea-based, second-strike nuclear capability.


The 'Shourya' (Valor), is a land-version of the K-15 Sagarika submarine-launched ballistic missile, and can carry a warhead of over 500 kg across a range of 600 km and is meant to strengthen India's second-strike capability.[104] The missile was successfully tested in November 2008.[119] With the Shourya, Indian defense planners aim to achieve increased survivability of the country's nuclear arsenal. In this context, the Shourya is a solid-propellant, canister-based missile, which can be located in underground silos and could conceivably replace the liquid-propelled Prithvi missiles which have a maximum range of 350 km.[105]

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has developed two UAVs, Lakshya and Nishant. According to news reports in February 2009, the Nishant is expected to be inducted into the Indian Army very soon.[121] An upgraded version of the Lakshya successfully completed its test flight in September 2008.[122]

The DRDO is also developing a medium-altitude, and long-endurance UAV, Rustom, which is slated to be completed by 2011.[109] The Rustom will have a range of 300 km and a payload capacity of 200 kg.[121]

Table of Indian Ballistic and Cruise Missiles

View the Table of Indian Ballistic and Cruise Missiles.

Custody/Command and Control

India does not maintain a constituted nuclear force on a heightened state of alert. The nuclear-capable missiles, non-nuclear warhead assemblies, and fissile cores are maintained in a de-alerted state by the individual armed services, the DRDO, and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), respectively, with plans to reconstitute them rapidly during an emergency or national crisis.[81]

After much debate, deliberations, and delay, the Indian government has entrusted operational control of India's nuclear missile force to the Indian Army. Although the Indian Air Force deploys an undisclosed number of nuclear-capable bombers and is actively planning to upgrade the air leg of the dyad, it has lost the inter-organizational battle with the Army for custody of India's nuclear missile force.[82]

Although the nuclear-capable missiles and aircraft are under the control of individual armed services, India's consolidated nuclear force is administered by a tri-service Strategic Forces Command (SFC).[83] Due to the delay in the appointment of the proposed Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), who will ultimately head a joint tri-service command, the commander-in-chief of the SFC currently reports to the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. Ultimately, however, the SFC will report to the CDS, who will act as the "single-point" military advisor to the Indian government and act as the interface between the civilian executive and the armed services.[84]

At the level of the civilian executive, India's Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) is responsible for the management of its nuclear forces and for making all decisions pertaining to the use of nuclear weapons. The NCA is a two-layered structure. It comprises a Political Council (PC) and an Executive Council (EC). The PC is chaired by the prime minister and is the "sole body which can authorize the use of nuclear weapons." The decisions of the PC are conveyed to the EC, headed by the prime minister's National Security Advisor, who then interfaces with the SFC to execute the political directives of the PC.[85]

Import Dependency and Export Controls

After four decades of investments in its aerospace sector, India has succeeded in achieving a relatively high-degree of autonomy in the development, engineering, and manufacture of first-generation ballistic missiles. As a result, international "technology-denial" regimes can at best delay and add to the opportunity cost of India's ballistic missile programs. However, such regimes cannot disrupt them in the long term.

With the help of Western European and North American aerospace companies in the late 1960s and 1970s, the Indian government created an elaborate infrastructure for the development and manufacture of solid and liquid propellants, composites, structural materials, navigation, avionics, flight control, launch support equipment, computers, and software needed for civilian satellite launch vehicles. At about the same time, the Indian government also began creating an infrastructure for designing, developing, testing, and building guided missiles. This included "aerodynamic, structural, and environmental test facilities, liquid- and solid-propulsion test facilities, fabrication and engineering facilities, control, guidance, rubber, and computer facilities." [86]

After the launch of the IGMDP in 1983, the DRDO further expanded and refurbished these facilities, and gained competence in the areas of solid propellants, composites, and advanced metallurgy. In 1987, India's Defense Research and Development Laboratory inaugurated a new state-of-the-art facility for designing and building modern missiles at Imarat Kancha near Hyderabad. The new facility was named Research Center Imarat (RCI). In addition, India has built a dedicated test range on its east coast in Orissa (Chandipur-On-Sea) to test "long-range missiles, air defense missiles, high 'G' maneuverable missiles, weapon systems delivered by aircraft, and multi-target weapon systems." Range tracking and acquisition radars and some of the support equipment for this test range were imported from the United States and Russia in the 1980s and 1990s.[88]

Despite its emergence as a potential "second-tier" supplier state, India is not a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). New Delhi rejects participation in the MTCR on grounds that India is a victim of such technology-denial regimes, that such regimes are insensitive to India's national security needs, and they interfere with the peaceful uses of space technology. In the past, senior Indian defense officials such as Sivathanu Pillai and Dr. Abdul Kalam have expressed the view that Indian missile programs, both strategic and tactical, are not only aimed at providing the Indian military with weapon systems, but also to generate exports.[92] In 1994, the Indian defense ministry's Department of Defense Production and Supplies included the Prithvi in its catalogue of defense items available for export. Although no Prithvi exports have occurred to date, Indian defense officials have suggested that India may sell some of the missile's subsystems in the international market.[93] Indian and Russian officials have publicly expressed their intent to export the BrahMos/PJ-10 cruise missile to friendly "third countries" with mutual consent.[94]

But since the late 1990s, especially after the nuclear tests in May 1998 and the subsequent strategic dialogue with the United States, the Indian government has apparently resolved the internal debate on exports in favor of robust export controls on strategic nuclear, missile, and related dual-use goods and technologies.[95] However, the 2002 indictment of the Indian company NEC Engineers Private, Limited, for illegally exporting material and equipment that could be used in the manufacture of solid propellants for missiles to Iraq has raised doubts about the efficacy with which Indian export control regulations and laws are policed in practice.[96]

[1] "India plans to test 3,000km Agni III missile this year: Aatre," Press Trust of India, 4 June 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 4 June 2004,
[2] Anya Loukianova & Sharad Joshi, "India Expands Foreign Collaboration in Missile and Space Program, Tests Missile Defense System," WMD Insights, March 2008, I23/ I23_ SA1_ India Expands.htm.
[3] Sujan Dutta, "Blast-Off From a Missile Era," The Telegraph, February 15, 2008, 1080109/ jsp/ front page/ story_ 8760934.jsp.
[4] Gaurav Kampani, "Stakeholders Analysis in the Indian Strategic Missile Program," Nonproliferation Review, Fall / Winter 2003, pp. 53-54.
[5] Ibid, pp. 54-56.
[6] Ibid, pp. 56-58.
[7] Ibid, pp. 58-60.
[8] "India Developing Ballistic Missiles to Counter Missile Attacks," Press Trust of India, 9 February 2003, Nationwide International News; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 9 February 2003,; "Plans for Missile Interceptors Unveiled," Hindu (Chennai), 9 February 2003; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 8 February 2003,; "Lightweight Agni Variant on the Way," Press Trust of India, 8 August 2003, Nationwide International News; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 8 August 2003,
[9] "Defense scientists embark on making 'smart' missiles," Business Line, 3 October 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 3 October 2004,
[10] Dr. N.C. Birla, ed., "The Origins," Indian Defence Technology: Missile Systems, (New Delhi: Defense Research & Development Organization, Ministry of Defense, 1998), pp.ix-x; A.P.J. Abdul Kalam with Arun Tiwari, "Propitiation," in Wings of Fire: An Autobiography, (Hyderabad: Universities Press (India) Limited, 1999), pp.117-118.
[11] "Surface-to Surface Missile Successfully Tested," Delhi Domestic Service, 25 February 1988; in FBIS Document FBIS-NES-88-037, 25 February 1988, pp.46-47; "Paper Details Missile Production Plans," Hindustan Times (New Delhi), 27 February 1988, pp.1,5; in FBIS Document FBIS-NES-88-044, 7 March 1988, pp.55-56.
[12] See 'India Missile Chronology' for 1987-1995 at Nuclear Threat Initiative website, e_research/ profiles/ India/ Missile/ 1931_ 4696.html, (January 2005).
[13] Pravin Sawhney, "Army Organizes First Prithvi Missile Unit," Asian Age(New Delhi), 29 April 1995, p.1; in FBIS Document FBIS-NES-95-083, 1 May 1995, pp.45-46; Rahul Bedi, "India pressured to halt Prithvi production," Jane's Defence Weekly, 15 April 1995, p.5.
[14] There are no authoritative estimates of the number of operational Prithvi ballistic missiles in India's inventory. For reported estimates see, 'India Missile Chronology,' for years 1998-2004.
[15] Bulbul Singh, "India to Build Missile Stocks While Seeking Missile Defense," Aerospace Daily, 17 July 2003, Vol. 207, No. 12, News, p. 2; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 23 July 2003,
[16] For developments concerning the Prithvi 2, see 'India Missile Chronology' for years 1993-2004.
[17] Y. Mallikarjun, "Nuclear-Capable Prithvi-II Test-Fired Successfully," The Hindu, May 24, 2008, 2008/ 05/ 24/ stories/ 2008052454761300.htm.
[18] Sandeep Dikshit, "Army, Air Force Not Keen on Prithvi Missile," The Hindu, October 3, 2005, 2005/ 10/ 03/ stories/ 2005100316221400.htm.
[19] Srinjoy Chowdhury, "IAF increasing Prithvi arsenal," Statesman, 9 September 2004; 8 September 2004, in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe,
[20] Singh, "India to Build Missile Stocks While Seeking Missile Defense,"Aerospace Daily, 17 July 2003.
[21] "Army Testfires Prithvi-II," The Tribune, May 24, 2008, 2008/ 20080524/ nation.htm#1.
[22] Arun Vishwakarma, "Prithvi SRBM,", December 28, 2005, MISSILES/ Prithvi.html#3.
[23] "India to Test New Prithvi," Aviation Week and Space Technology, Vol.148, No.26 (New York), 29 June 1998, p. 31; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 29 June 1998,
[24] "Dhanush variant for land targets sought," Hindustan Times (New Delhi), 20 April 2000,; Rahul Bedi, "Missile Test is 'Partial Success', says India," Jane's Defence Weekly, 19 April 2000, p.14.
[25] "Indian Missile Dhanush Ready for Navy," Asia Pulse, 30 September 2002; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 30 September 2002,
[26] "Prithvi-III test fired," Press Trust of India, 27 October 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 28 October 2004,
[27] T.S. Subramanian, "Prithvi-III Testfired for First Time," Hindu, October 24, 2004, 2004/ 10/ 28/ stories/ 2004102807641300.htm.
[28] "Dhanush test fired from Orissa coast," Press Trust of India, 7 November 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 7 November 2004,; "Dhanush missile successfully test fired," Hindu, 8 November 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 8 November 2004,
[29] "Akash, Trishul, Nag missiles to user," Press Trust of India, 9 December 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 9 December 2004,
[30] T.S. Subramanian, "Smashing Hit," Frontline, Vol. 24, Issue 25, December 22, 2007-January 4, 2008, fl2425/ stories/ 20080104242512300.htm.
[31] Raj Chengappa, "The Earth Broke Under Our Feet," Weapons of Peace: The Secret Story of India's Quest to be a Nuclear Power, (New Delhi: Harper Collins Publishers, 2000), p.437.
[32] Pratap Chakravarty, "India Ridicules Pakistan and Warns Troops, Missiles will Hold Border," Agence France Presse, 31 January 2002; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 31 January 2002,
[33] "Indian Govt. to Hand Over Agni Missiles to Army," Press Trust of India, 2 September 2003, Nationwide International News; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 23 September 2003,
[34] Robert S. Norris & Hans M. Kristensen, "Nuclear Notebook: India's Nuclear Forces, 2007," The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July/August 2007, content/ hm378jxpm12u4342/ fulltext.pdf.
[35] "Indian Nuclear Arsenal," (fact sheet), Center for Defense Information, July 8, 2008, program/ document.cfm? documentid= 2964& programID= 32& from_ page= ../friendlyversion/ printversion.cfm.
[36] For development concerning the Agni-TD see 'India Missile Chronology' for 1987-1994.
[37] Raj Chengappa, "Tell Your President, I Keep My Word," Weapons of Peace: The Secret Story of India's Quest to be a Nuclear Power, (New Delhi: Harper Collins Publishers India Pvt. Ltd., 2000), p.391.
[38] "Agni-II joins nation's missile showcase," Hindustan Times (New Delhi), 11 April 1999,; Raj Chengappa, "Boom for Boom," India Today (New Delhi), 26 April 1999,
[39] For developments concerning Agni-II, see 'India Missile Chronology' for years 1999-2004.
[40] Pratap Mohanty, "India tests nuclear capable missile," Agence France Presse, 4 July 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 5 July 2004,; "India testfires upgraded Agni-I," Times of India, 5 July 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 5 July 2004,; Sandeep Dikshit, "Army's missile group to maintain Agni A-1," Hindu, 5 July 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 5 July 2004,
[41] "India's Agni-I missile yet to be handed over to Army," BBC Monitoring, 13 January 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 13 January 2004,
[42] Y. Mallikarjun, 'Agni-III flight test Unsuccessful', The Hindu. 10 July, 2006, 2006/ 07/ 10/ stories/ 2006071007510100.htm.
[43] Sandeep Dikshit, 'Design Flaw Behind Agni-III failure', The Hindu, August 7, 2006, 2006/ 08/ 07/ stories/ 2006080715080900.htm.
[44] "DRDO Readying Design for 5,000 km-Range Agni-V," The Hindu, May 10, 2008, 2008/ 05/ 10/ stories/ 2008051054681300.htm.
[45] T.S. Subramanian "Full of Fire," Frontline, May 24-June 6, 2008, fline/ fl2511/ stories/ 20080606251103700.htm.
[46] "Gandhi Hails Missile Test," Delhi Domestic Service, 22 May 1989; in FBIS-NES-89-097, 22 May 1989, p.54; "Gandhi Says Missile's Success Guards India's Independence," St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri), 23 May 1989, p.11A; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 23 May 1989,; Dilip Bobb with Amarnath K. Menon, "Agni: Chariot of Fire," India Today (New Delhi), 1-15 June 1989, pp.10-13.
[47] Sujan Dutta, "Missile Muscle, Pokharan Silence," The Telegraph, May 13, 2008, 1080513/ jsp/ nation/ story_ 9263759.jsp.
[48] Josy Joseph, "Govt Allots Rs. 2,500 Cr for Agni-V," Daily News & Analysis, June 16, 2008.
[49] Josy Joseph, "Missile Programmes Disappoint Scientists," Daily News & Analysis, June 19, 2007, report.asp? newsid= 1104296.
[50] Debabrata Mohanty & Chandan Nandy, "Birth in Russia, Blast-Off in India," The Telegraph (Calcutta), 12 June 2001,; Atul Aneja, "Indo-Russian Missile Tested," The Hindu (Chennai), 13 June 2001,
[51] Debabrata Mohanty and Chandan Nandy, "Birth in Russia, Blast-Off in India," The Telegraph (Calcutta), 12 June 2001,; Atul Aneja, "Indo-Russian Missile Tested," The Hindu (Chennai), 13 June 2001,; "Expo-BrahMos," Press Trust of India, 5 February 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 5 February 2004,
[52] Ibid.
[53] BrahMos Test-Fired," The Hindu (Chennai), 29 April 2002,
[54] "BrahMos Flight Tested," Press Trust of India, 12 February 2003, Nationwide International News; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 12 February 2003,; Brahmos Flight Tested," Press Trust of India, 29 October 2003, Nationwide International News; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 29 October 2003,; "Anti-Ship Version of BrahMos Proves its Mettle," The Hindu (Chennai), 3 December 2003; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 2 December 2003,
[55] See 'India Missile Chronology' for 2004.
[56] "Brahmos Test Fired Successful," Press Trust of India, 23 November 2003, Nationwide International News; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 1 December 2003,; Bulbul Singh, "BrahMos Cruise Missile Test-Fired from Destroyer," Aerospace Daily, 1 December 2003, Vol. 208, No. 42, News, p. 2; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 4 December 2003,; T.S. Subramanian, "Anti-Ship Version of BrahMos Proves its Mettle," The Hindu (Chennai), 3 December 2003; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 2 December 2003,; "Brahmos successfully tested," Press Trust of India, 3 November 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 3 November 2004,; "Brahmos anti-ship missile tested," Business Line, 4 November 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 4 November 2004,
[57] T.S. Subramanian, "Cruising Along," Frontline, Vol. 24, Issue 13, June 30-July 13, 2007, fl2413/ stories/ 20070713003202800.htm.
[58] "BrahMos supersonic cruise missile to be inducted in Navy next year," Press Trust of India, 26 August 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 26 August 2004,
[59] Tim Fish, "Sea-Launched BrahMos Hits Land Target," Jane's Defence Weekly, March 10, 2008.
[60] "BrahMos Underwater Launch in 2008, Air-to-Air Launch in 2009," The Economic Times, March 19, 2008, Politics Nation/ BrahMos_ underwater_ launch_ this_ year/ articleshow/ 2882363.cms.
[61] Josy Joseph, "Navy Wants BrahMos in Submarines," Daily News & Analysis, June 21, 2007, report.asp? NewsID= 1104880.
[62] "IAF variant of BrahMos likely in three years," Times of India, 13 December 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 13 December 2004,
[63] "BrahMos test-fired successfully," Business Insight, 14 June 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 25 June 2004,; T.S. Subramanian, "Kalam congratulates scientists," The Hindu, 14 June 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 14 June 2004,; T.S. Subramanian, "BrahMos launch successful," The Hindu, 14 June 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 14 June 2004,; T.S. Subramanian, "BrahMos-II bang on target," The Hindu, 22 December 2004,
[64] Manoj Joshi, "Russia Gives Nuclear Edge to Indian Defence," Times of India (Mumbai), 19 January 2003; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 19 January 2003,
[65] T.S. Subramanian, "DRDO Developing Hypersonic Missile," The Hindu, May 9, 2008, 2008/ 05/ 09/ stories/ 2008050955301300.htm.
[66] "Israel and India working on hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle,", Aviation & Aerospace, July 11, 2007, aero/ july/ 2007/ 20070711_ hypersonic.htm.
[67] "Sea-Based BrahMos Missile Hits Ground Target in Test Launch," RIA Novosti, March 5, 2008, world/ 20080305/ 100720959.html.
[68] Ibid.
[69] Vladimir Radyuhin, "India, Russia to market BrahMos," The Hindu, 8 April 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 8 April 2004,
[70] Sujan Dutta, "Fearless Tomahawk-Type Missile on Radar," The Telegraph, July 20, 2007, 1070720/ asp/ nation/ story_ 8080771.asp.
[71] T.S. Subramanian, "Strike Power," Frontline, Vol. 25, Issue 6, March 15-26, 2008, fl2506/ stories/ 20080328250604600.htm.
[72] Steven Lee Myers, "Russia is Helping India Extend Range of Missile, US Aides Say," New York Times, 27 April 1998,; "Russia Denies Helping India Develop Submarine-Launched Missiles," Rediff on the Net, 28 April 1998,
[73] Rahul Roy Chaudhury, "Equipping the Navy for War on Land," Times of India (New Delhi), 13 July 1998,
[74] Office of the Secretary of Defense, "Proliferation: Threat and Response," US Department of Defense, January 2001.
[75] Rahul Bedi, "Sagarika Test Firing Heralds India's SLBM Capability," Jane's Navy International, March 1, 2008.
[76] "Hypersonic," Press Trust of India, 1 January 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 1 January 2004,
[77] Bulbul Singh, "India begins development work on Avatar space vehicle,"Aerospace Daily, 3 February 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 5 February 2004,
[78] "India plans to test 3,000km Agni III missile this year: Aatre," Press Trust of India, 4 June 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 4 June 2004,
[79] Vishal Thapar, "Missile Capped: Govt Under Fire," CNN-IBN, June 19, 2007, news/ india- softens- missile- power- for- us/ 43179- 11.html.
[80] Sharad Joshi, "India and Pakistan Missile Race Surges On," WMD Insights, October 2007, I19/ I19_ SA2_ MissileDev.htm.
[81] Ashley Tellis, "Chapters Four & Five," India's Emerging Nuclear Posture: Between Recessed Deterrent and Ready Arsenal, (Santa Monica: Rand, 2001), pp. 251-723.
[82] "Indian Govt. to Hand Over Agni Missiles to Army," Press Trust of India, 2 September 2003, Nationwide International News; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 23 September 2003,
[83] "India Establishes Strategic Forces Command," Press Trust of India, 4 January 2003, Nationwide International News; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 5 January 2003,; Edna Fernandes, "India Sets Up Nuclear Arsenal Command Structure," Financial Times, 6 January 2003, World News, p. 6; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 5 January 2003,
[84] Rajat Pandit, "India All Set to Set up Nuclear Forces Command," Times of India (Mumbai), 31 December 2002,
[85] "India Establishes Strategic Forces Command," Press Trust of India.
[86] For details of how India created its civilian space and military missile infrastructure see, 'India Missile Chronology' for years 1947-1979.
[87] Kalam with Tiwari, Wings of Fire: An Autobiography, pp. 125, 133-134.
[88] Federation of American Scientists, "Nuclear Forces Guide,"; "Interim Test Range to be Upgraded," Indian Express, 17 August 1998,
[89] "India's Missile Program is Spurring Industries: Dr. V.K. Saraswat, Director, Research Center Imarat," Business Line, 6 February 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 6 February 2004,
[90] "Interview: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam," India Today (New Delhi), 26 April 1999,; Kalam with Tiwari, Wings of Fire: An Autobiography, p. 153; Harbir K. Mannshaiya, "India's Prithvi," International Defense Review, August 1995, p. 24.
[91] "Foreign Missile Developments and the Ballistic Missile Threat Through 2015," Central Intelligence Agency, December 2001,
[92] "India-Russia to develop air-launched version BrahMos," The Hindu, 6 December 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 5 December 2004,
[93] Rajat Pandit, "New Delhi Planning to Sell Missiles to Friends," Times of India (Mumbai), 2 May 2003; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 1 May 2003,; "India to Export Missiles to Friendly Countries: Reports," Agence France Presse, 2 May 2003, International News; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 1 May 2003,
[94] Yuri Sidorov, "India equipping armed forces with BrahMos missile," ITAR-TASS, 21 July 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 22 July 2004,; "Navy starts inducting BrahMos," Business Insight, 23 July 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 10 August 2004,; Rajat Pandit, "Navy begins to induct BrahMos," Times of India, 24 July 2004; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 26 July 2004,
[95] Anupam Srivastava and Seema Gahlaut, "Curbing Proliferation from Emerging Suppliers: Export Controls in India and Pakistan," Arms Control Today, September 2003,
[96] Shishir Gupta, "The Indian Connection," India Today, 14 October 2002,
[97] Kampani, "Stakeholders in the Indian Strategic Missile Program," pp. 60-65.
[98] Ibid, pp. 65-67.
[99] "Two Nuclear Capable Prithvi-2 Missiles Successfully Test-Fired," The Times of India, October 12, 2009.
[100] Two Prithvi Missiles Tested Back-to-Back," The Times of India, October 13, 2009.
[101] "Improved Prithvi-II Successfully Test Fired," The Indian Express, April 15, 2009.
[102] "India to Test New Agni Missile By Dec 2010," Aero India 2009 News, February 14, 2009, aeroindia2009/ 2009/ 02/ india- to- test- new- agni- missile- by- dec.html
[103] "'Missile Woman' To Handle Ambitious Agni-V Project," The Times of India, July 1, 2009, news/ india/ Missile- woman- to- handle- ambitious- Agni- V- project/ articleshow/ 4721682.cms
[104] T.S. Subramanian, "'Shourya Missile Cannot be Easily Detected'," The Hindu, November 14, 2008, 2008/ 11/ 14/ stories/ 2008111462151500.htm.
[105] "Opening Up New Options," The Hindu, November 15, 2008, 2008/ 11/ 15/ stories/ 2008111555971000.htm.
[106] Ajai Shukla, "Road Mobility Gives Agni-5 Global Reach," Business Standard, October 12, 2009, india/ news/ road- mobility- gives- agni-5- global- reach/ 372986/.
[107] "Agni III Set For Fresh Test," Defence & Aerospace News, BrahMos Aerospace, June 23, 2009, defence News.php? newsid= 170.
[108] Shannon N. Kile, Vitaly Fedchanko, and Hans M. Kristensen, "World Nuclear Forces," SIPRI Yearbook 2009: Armaments, Disarmaments and International Security, (Sweden: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2009), pg. 369, yearbook/ 2009/ files/ SIPRIYB0908.pdf.
[109] Neelam Mathews, "High-Flying Goals," Defense Technology International, February 1, 2009, Lexis-Nexis.
[110] Y. Mallikarjun, "Agni-II Test-Fired," The Hindu, May 20, 2009, 2009/ 05/ 20/ stories/ 2009052055331300.htm.
[111] T.S. Subramanian, "Indian Nuclear Submarine to be Fitted Ballistic Missiles," The Hindu, July 27, 2009.
[112] "India Test-Fires Supersonic Cruise Missile," Press Trust of India, BBC Monitoring South Asia — Political, Lexis-Nexis, December 18, 2008.
[113] T.S. Subramanian, "BrahMos Missed the Target," The Hindu, January 22, 2009.
[114] T.S. Subramanian, "BrahMos Launch Successful," The Hindu, March 30, 2009.
[115] T.S. Subramanian, "New BrahMos Test Successful," The Hindu, March 5, 2009.
[116] "India: Supersonic Missile's Software Being Modified to Overcome Range Problem," Press Trust of India, BBC Monitoring South Asia — Political, Lexis-Nexis, February 14, 2009.
[117] Vimal Bhatia, "Army Test-Fires BrahMos Again," Times of India, July 30, 2009.
[118] "India, Russia To Develop Hypersonic BrahMos-II Cruise Missile," Indian Express, October 10, 2009, news/ india- russia- to- develop- new- hypersonic- cruise- missile/ 527148/.
[119] "India Successfully Test Fires Shaurya Missile," The Indian Express, November 12, 2008, latest- news/ India- successfully- test- fires--- Shaurya--- missile/ 384746/.
[120] "India test fires submarine-launched ballistic missile from land," BBC Monitoring South Asia — Political, Lexis-Nexis, November 12, 2008.
[121] "Nishant UAV to be Handed Over to Indian Army Soon," Aero India 2009 News, February 13, 2009, aeroindia2009/ labels/ UAV.html.
[122] Peter Larsen, "Upgraded Lakshya Drone Completes Test Flight," GlobalSecurity.Org, September 26, 2008, org/ news/ 2008/ 080926- india- lakshya.htm.
[123] Robert S. Norris & Hans M. Kristensen, "Indian Nuclear Forces, 2008,"Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November / December 2008, pg. 39, content/ t884046w31156318/ fulltext.pdf.
[124] T.S. Subramanian & Y. Mallikarjun, "India 'Successfully' Tests Interceptor Missile," The Hindu, March 7, 2009, Lexis-Nexis.

India ready to testfire 5,000km range Agni-V within a year

India today said it will testfire the over 5,000km range nuclear-capable Agni-V surface to surface ballistic missile "within a year", enabling it to bring all the possible targets in China and Pakistan within its striking radius.

The test-firing of the Agni-V missile will also help India to join the elite club on nations with the capability to produce Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), DRDO chief VK Saraswat said here.

"Agni-V is a 5,000 km plus missile in the ICBM category and we are planning to carry out its first test within a year," he told reporters here.

Saraswat said, "after Agni III and Agni V, as far as cities in China and Pakistan are concerned, there will be no target that we want to hit but can't hit."

Comparing the Agni-III with Chinese 2,500km range DF-21 and DF-25, Agni programme Director Avinash Chander said in terms of "accuracy and technology-wise", the indigenous missiles were better than the ones in the neighbourhood.

Commenting on the Agni V, the DRDO chief said the "missile was already out of the drawing boards."

He said the missile would be capable of being launched from canisters, which will help it to be launched from multiple platforms.

With certain modifications, canister launchers enable ballistic missiles to be fired from ships and other moving platforms.

Avinash Chander added that Agni V would be a three-stage missile and it was in the sub-systems testing phase.

"The missile will have composite rocket motors instead of metal rocket motors. That technology has been realised 90% as we have already tested it and are fine-tuning it to meet our requirements. It is in the sub-systems testing stage," he said.

Chander said the Agni V is a derivative of Agni III and 60% of it was ready and the rest will have to be developed.

"Agni V will be the first missile that will have a three-stage propulsion system. It will have the same warhead and navigation system as that of the Agni III, has the same diameter of 2 meters and is only half a metre longer than it," he added.

Asked if the country was planning to develop missiles of longer ranges, the DRDO Chief said, "In last 15 years, DRDO and India have come to a level ofmaturity in missile technology that we can build missiles of any range in these class of systems mobile, semi-mobile and static if we need that."

He added the range and lethality of missiles was based on the requirements projected by the security establishment and "whether you make a 5,000 kilometre class missile or a longer range missile, 99% of the technology and building blocks of the two are common."

Saraswat said the building blocks of such systems were ready and if and when they were required, "it could be done."

Commenting on the successful test-firing of the Agni III on February 7, the DRDO chief VK Saraswat said the "development" phase of the missile was over and it was ready for induction into the armed forces.

The DRDO Chief said looking at the class and capabilities of the Agni-III, "there is no need for us to build missiles and keep storing them. There is no need and there is no requirement."

He said "building and storing" missiles had a tremendous impact on "efforts and resources" and it was better to have building blocks of technology ready and have the capability as and when required in the shortest possible time.

Asked why was the missile test-fired only four times before induction, he said India had made advancements in design and simulation capabilities and a limited number of tests were required to prove the system.

On the problems faced by the Agni II and Agni III during their earlier tests, ASL Director Chander said, "we have a problem and we have identified it. In both the cases, it was the quality-related issue and we are working to address those issues."

He said the Agni III was capable of being launched from both rail and road launchers and was made up of composite material.

Chander said the missile will be now tested by the armed forces as users and will be manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited in Hyderabad.

The missile has been built with support of over 150 industrial partners, 20 DRDO laboratories and 20 other national level institutes, he added.

India has got a spy in the sky

India is going to put up an eye in the sky to boost its military intelligence. The spycraft, called the Communication-Centric Intelligence Satellite (CCI-Sat), will be operational by 2014 and will keep a watch on the trouble spots in the neighbourhood, especially China and Pakistan.

Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the CCI-Sat is India’s first original spy satellite. It will be launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation within the next four years.

The CCI-Sat is capable of picking images and supporting communication (conversation between two satellite phones, for instance), besides surveillance. “The satellite will orbit Earth at an altitude of 500km and will cover hostile regions in India’s neighbourhood by passing on the surveillance data to the intelligence,” said G Bhoopathy, the director of the Defence Electronic Research Laboratory (DLRL), the lab that is working on the satellite.

“The focus is now space, we have to equip ourselves for electronic warfare from space too,” he said. The satellite will be equipped with synthetic aperture radar to take high resolution images of the target regions. Pegged at Rs100 crore, the satellite design and development will be made by the ISRO while the payload will be built by the DLRL. “We are in discussions with the ISRO at the moment,” Bhoopathy said.

India, with its Technology Experiment Satellite (TES), is already among the nations that have spy satellites. These include the US, Russia and Japan.

TES, which was launched in 2001, helped the US army with high-resolution images during the 9/11 counter against the

Besides TES, ISRO’s Cartosat series of satellites and the Radar Imaging Satellite (Risat-2) can also be used for surveillance and espionage. But the CCI-Sat is the first 100% spy satellite of India.

“This satellite will be much better than Risat-2,” Bhoopathy said.
ISRO is also planning to launch the Gsat-7 satellite to boost communication system for the Indian Navy. This would be launched later this year.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

India to build intelligent satellite for surveillance

India is set to develop a dedicated network-centric communication intelligence satellite for detecting conversations and espionage activities in the region, a top defence scientist said on Tuesday.

“We are in the process of designing and developing a spacecraft fitted with an intelligent sensor that will pick up conversations and communications across the borders,” Defence Electronics Research Laboratory (DLRL) director G. Bhoopathy told reporters here.

The Rs.100 crore satellite will be developed in partnership with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and launched in the lower earth orbit — about 500 km above the earth — on board the polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) from Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh, about 80 km north-east of Chennai.

“The satellite fitted with the electronic sensor will be more powerful than the remote sensing satellites (IRSA) of ISRO. The spacecraft should be ready for launch by 2014,” Mr. Bhoopathy said on the margins of a preview on the first international conference on electronic warfare (EWCI 2010).

The Hyderabad-based DLRL, which functions under the aegis of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), is also developing a border network-centric electronic warfare sensor for surveillance on the Indian borders in the mountain range and desert areas.

“The electronic warfare (EW) sensor will be located on the mountain range facing Pakistan, China, Nepal and the northeast to detect troop or vehicular movement across the borders. Some of the sensors can also be deployed in the plains or desert for monitoring the ground situation in border areas,” Mr. Bhoopathy said.

Code-named “Divya Drushti” (foresight), the radars will be installed on the mountain tops from December this year onwards.

The Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE) in Bangalore and DLRL are engaged in the design and development of EW systems indigenously and state-run defence behemoth Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) will manufacture the radars and the support systems in collaboration with the private sector.

DARE and BEL have rolled out Tarang radar warning receiver systems and its variants for fighter jets and transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

BEL has orders from the Indian Armed forces to supply EW system to the value of Rs. 710 crore in this fiscal and Rs. 900 crore in fiscal 2010-11.

Over the years, BEL supplied EW systems to the three armed services to the value of Rs.3,500 crore till fiscal 2008-09.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

India tests long-range nuclear-capable Agni-III missile

India today "successfully" test-fired its nuclear-capable Agni-III ballistic missile with a range of more than 3,000 km from the Wheeler Island off Orissa coast.
The indigenously developed surface-to-surface missile was tested from a rail mobile launcher near Dhamara, about 100 km from here, at about 1046 hours, defence sources said.
"All mission parameters were met," they said, adding the test was a success.
This was the fourth flight test in the Agni-III series carried out to establish the "repeatability" of the missile's performance, they said.
The entire trajectory of today's trial was monitored through various telemetry stations, electro-optic systems and sophisticated radars located along the coast, in Port Blair and by Naval ships anchored near the impact point in the down range area for data analysis, the sources said.
Agni-III missile is powered by a two-stage solid propellant system.

Friday, February 5, 2010

ISRO for India's indigenous satellite for mobiles communication by 2011

ISRO is planning to launch India's indigenous satellite for mobiles communication by 2011. Satellite phones or ‘sat phones’ are very much useful and popular in remote places in which terrestrial cellular service are not available. People can use satphone without using cellular broadcasting tower. All they need to use the satellite phone is a clear line to the sky by that the users can attend the calls from anywhere. For instance, the users can operate satellite phones either in the core of desert Sahara or at the depth of thick South African Jungle or at the top of Mount Everest. In short, satphones deliver a stable communication both in air and in sea.
So far India is not owning satellite and the Indians are getting access for the

ir satellite phones only from foreign satellite services. Last Monday (1st February 2010) a senior space scientist from Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said that they are under the process of building a high-beam antenna in order to fix that on a broad communication satellite with S-band transponder.
ISRO planning to launch this satellite next year and once they launched the satellite service in India, the satellite will start providing its own signals that can be connected with handheld satphones.
Currently India is getting satellite service help from International Maritime Satellite Organization (INMARSAT) but soon after the launch of new Indian satellite the country will become one of the main operators in the use of satellite phones and that will give way to reduce the costs of satellite phone services, according to G. Madhavan Nair, who is the former Indian Space Agency Chairman.
A question was raised about the weapons used in the space program at the inauguration of two-day semicon summit, which was organized by Indian Semiconductor Association (ISA). Nair replied the question by telling that they are taking good cadences to guard country’s space assets and in their policy they have declared that they use the space assets only for peaceful purposes.
Keywords; ISRO India moon satellite, mobile communication, ISRO satellite in India, ISRO mobile satellite

The Arjun tank faces it biggest trial

India's Arjun tank will battle for its life against a squadron of Russian T-90s in trials likely to determine the controversial vehicle's future.

The long-awaited trials, which start in March, will pit the 14 indigenous Arjuns against the 14 T-90s, day and night for a month, according to the national Business Standard newspaper.

The 24th Infantry Division stationed in Bikaner will conduct the trials in the rugged deserts of the northern state of Rajasthan, around the cities of Bikaner, Suratgarh and also Pokhran, the site of India's first nuclear bomb test in May 1974.

The performance of tanks and their crews will be monitored. Vehicle speed, accuracy in firing while on the move, ability to operate over long distances and fatigue on crews will be observed, the Business Standard article said.

Media reports last fall said the army had purchased an initial 124 Arjuns and was considering it as a replacement for "hundreds" of its T-90s. More than 390 T-90s were ordered in 2001 as a stopgap until the Arjun was made ready. But continued performance and manufacturing problems with the Arjun prompted the army to order another 347 T-90s last November as part of the country's fleet of about 4,000 tanks.

However, the Business Standard article said the army is not now looking to replace its T-90s with the Arjun and so is not calling the trials "comparative." The T-90 is expected to be in service for around 30 years. Instead, the Arjun is a potential successor to the army's aging Russian T-72, of which it has around 2,400.

The T-90 is not on trial, the army said. Performance of the Arjun is.

The strengths and weaknesses of the Arjun are under evaluation "to help the army decide what operational role the Arjun could play and which sector of the border it could effectively operate in," the Standard article said.

"The outcome could decide whether the Indian army will ride Indian tanks into future battles or continue its reliance upon a heavily criticized fleet of Russian T-72 tanks, which even the army chief admits is 80 percent blind at night, when most tank battles occur."

Hope for the Arjun tank's future were raised last October when the army confirmed its order for 124 from the manufacturer Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi and the Defense R&D Organization, which developed the Arjun tank at the Central Vehicles R&D Establishment at Chennai.

A report in The Hindustan Times at the time said that the Arjun -- 35 years in the making -- had been plagued with a number of major problems concerning its fire control system, suspension and poor mobility due to its excessive weight, coming in at just under 60 tons. The T-90s weigh in at around 45 tons.

While the news of the trials is welcomed by the DRDO, there is also some frustration. "The army knows that the T-72 would have performed very poorly in trials against the Arjun," a senior DRDO officer is quoted by the Standard as saying.

"Despite that, the army continues to sink money into its 2,400 outdated T-72s. Any comparative trial with the T-72 would make it clear that the Arjun should replace the T-72."

Doubts about the usefulness of the trials were noted by retired Maj. Gen. H.M. Singh, the "father of the Arjun," according to the Standard article. It will be impossible to measure the tactical performance of 14 Arjun tanks.

"There are too many variables, including the skill of the tank crews and colored perceptions of the judges," said Singh. "A comparative trial should be a scientific comparison of each tank's physical performance in identical situations."

The Arjun measures just under 33 feet long and 12 feet wide. Armor is a Kanchan steel-composite sandwich development. A 1,400 horsepower diesel engine gives it an operational range of 280 miles with a speed of 45 mph on roads and 25 mph cross-country.

The 120mm rifled main turret gun can fire the LAHAT anti-tank missile. Secondary armaments are a MAG 7.62mm Tk715 coaxial machine gun and an HCB 12.7mm AA machine gun.

The Arjun is named after one of the main characters of the Indian epic poem the Mahabharata. The discussion of life and karma is the longest epic poem in the world, being roughly 10 times the length of the Iliad and Odyssey combined.

BrahMos installation test flight in Baltic Sea

An installation test flight of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is scheduled to take place this year in the Baltic Sea from a stealth frigate being built for the Indian Navy at Kaliningrad in Russia, A. Sivathanu Pillai, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, BrahMos Aerospace Limited, said on Tuesday.

The missile’s vertical launcher and fire control system, made in India, was transported to Kaliningrad and fitted into the stealth frigate, a Talwar-class ship.

Dr. Pillai disclosed this when Russian National Security Advisor Nikolai Patroshev, along with Ambassador Alexander Kadakin, visited the BrahMos Complex in New Delhi.

The BrahMos missile is a joint product of India and Russia and it has already been inducted into the Indian Navy and Army.

Patroshev is all praise

Mr. Patroshev, who is leading a high-level delegation, lauded the development of the BrahMos as a remarkable achievement made in a short time. “The joint venture BrahMos is a bright illustration of the successful work of the Russian and Indian scientists and designers. It is based on the highest trust…”

Mr. Kadakin said the best brains of the two countries coming together made the system highly advanced and reliable.

Dr. Pillai gave an account of the progress made by the joint venture in the last 10 years and the possible areas for future collaboration. The Russian delegation’s visit would further encourage the joint venture, he said.

Three Talwar-class ships to be built for the Indian Navy by Russia would have BrahMos missiles.

There are four versions of BrahMos now: sea-to-sea; sea-to-land; land-to-sea; and land-to-land. Work on launching the cruise missile from submarines and aircraft was in progress, Dr. Pillai said.

Impossible to intercept

K.V. Prasad reports from New Delhi:

Established in 1998, BrahMos Aerospace, produces and markets the BrahMos supersonic missiles. Known as BrahMos Block-2, the missile has a top speed of over Mach 5, making it virtually impossible to intercept, and it can effectively engage even slightly visible ground targets. It has been designed primarily to meet the needs of the Army.

“Army officials said they were pleased with last year’s ground trials of the missile, and approved putting it into service,” Russian news agency Ria-Novosti said, quoting Dr. Pillai.

The company has also been working on another version of the missile, BrahMos-A for the Air Force. The IAF selected the multirole fighter Sukhoi-MKI as the platform for trials scheduled for next year and targets fitment in 2012.

Modifications to Su-30 MKI for integration with the BrahMos-A missile system are being carried out by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Russia’s Sukhoi Design Bureau.

Steps on for fourth launch of Agni-III before Sunday

Intense preparations are under way on the tiny Wheeler Island, off Damra village on the Orissa coast, for the launch of ballistic missile Agni-III before Sunday.

This will be the fourth launch of Agni-III and it aims at establishing its reliability. “We are doing this flight to demonstrate the robustness of the missile’s systems,” a top missile engineer of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said on Wednesday.

Agni-III, a product of the DRDO, can carry nuclear warheads weighing 1.5 tonnes. It can fly over 3,500 km and even target parts of China.

The missile has two stages which are powered by solid propellants. It is 17-metre long, has a diameter of two metres and launch weight of 50 tonnes. The missile re-enters the atmosphere with a high velocity at a temperature of more than 2,500 degrees Celsius. The nuclear warhead is protected by a heat-shield made of carbon-carbon composites. While the first Agni-III launch on July 9, 2006 failed, the second and third launches on April 12, 2007, and May 7, 2008, witnessed copy-book flights.

The coming weeks/months will be hectic for the DRDO with one more launch of K-15 missile this month from a submerged pontoon off the coast of Visakhapatnam. The pontoon will simulate the conditions of a submarine. K-15 had been launched earlier from submerged pontoons, but this is a different version. The first version, called Mark-1, is being fitted into the indigenously built nuclear-powered submarine named Arihant.

After the K-15 missile clears the water medium, it climbs 20 km into the air and can destroy targets 700 km away. The missile forms part of the DRDO’s Sagarika project.

Shourya, which is the land-version of the underwater-launched K-15 missile, will have its second flight around June from the Integrated Test Range at Balasore, Orissa.

The fourth flight of India’s interceptor missile, which can knock out adversarial ballistic missiles at an altitude of 130 km, is scheduled for September.

The DRDO has already scored a hat-trick with three of its interceptor missiles confronting incoming “enemy” ballistic missiles in a “hit-to-kill” mode.

IAF to arm Su-30 fighter jets with BrahMos missiles

India's fleet of Su-30MKI Flanker-H fighter jets could be armed with BrahMos missiles by 2012, the vice president of the Irkut Corporation said at the Singapore Airshow 2010.

The corporation is a prime contractor in manufacturing the Su-30MKI multi-role fighters for the Indian Air Force. Its share of Russia's arms exports is 15 per cent.

"The modernisation programme includes re-equipping of some 100 Su-30MKI fighters, which are currently in service with the Indian Air Force," Vladimir Sautov said Thursday.

"It is being carried out by the Rosoboronexport, the Sukhoi Design Bureau and NPO Mashinostroyeniya. If things go well, we may offer modernized Su-30MKI fighters to our other foreign partners as soon as 2012," he added.

The BrahMos missile has a range of 290 km and can carry a conventional warhead of up to 300 kg. It can effectively engage ground targets from an altitude as low as 10 meters and has a top speed of Mach 2.8, which is about three times faster than the US-made subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile.

The Indian Air Force originally ordered 50 Su-30MKI aircraft from Russia in 1996 and an additional 40 planes in 2007. India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was also contracted to build 140 aircraft in India between 2003 and 2017 under a licensed production agreement.

Sautov also said that as the missile is "large, heavy and powerful", a lighter modification is currently under development, which will enable Su-30MKI fighters to carry not only one but three missiles.

Established in 1998, BrahMos Aerospace, a joint Indian-Russian venture, produces and markets BrahMos supersonic missiles. The sea-based and land-based versions have been successfully tested and put into service with the Indian Army and Navy.

Monday, February 1, 2010

China-specific Agni III to be tested

The China-specific nuclear capable missile Agni III will be flight-tested any time between February 6 and 8. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is planning to conduct the test at the Inner Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast. Sources at the defence base in Chandipur said the surface-tosurface missile, with a strike range of about 3,500 km, would be test-fired in full operational stage.

“Massive preparation is on with more than a hundred scientists camping at the test range. The first test of the missile in 2006 was a failure, though its second trial in 2007 and third in 2008 were successful. Its proposed trial in 2009 was put off for unknown reasons,” the source added.

Agni-III is a new system and can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads. It will be propelled by solid fuels, facilitating swifter deployment compared to missiles using both solid and liquid fuels.

“The ballistic missile will require two or three more tests before it can go for limited series production (LSP) trials by the armed forces. However, two more years will be required for its operational deployment. Its successful test will propel India to go for the maiden test of 5,500 km range Agni-V missile, which is being developed now,’’ a scientist said.

Agni-V has been designed keeping in view the credible minimum deterrence against China. The ongoing work on Agni-V 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.