India conducts night trial of new-gen Agni-Prime ballistic missile to boost strategic deterrence | India News

NEW DELHI: India successfully tested the new-generation nuclear capable Agni-Prime ballistic missile, which has a strike range from 1,000 to 2,000-km, from the Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha on Wednesday night.
It was the Agni-Prime’s second “pre-induction night trial” conducted by the tri-service Strategic Forces Command (SFC) along with the DRDO at around 7 pm.“The test met all the trial objectives validating its reliable performance, as confirmed from the data captured by a number of range sensors deployed at different locations, including two downrange ships placed at the terminal point,” the defence ministry said.
The launch was witnessed by chief of defence staff General Anil Chauhan, SFC chief vice admiral Suraj Berry and other senior officials from the armed forces and DRDO. “The successful development and induction of the missile will be an excellent force multiplier for the armed forces,” defence minister Rajnath Singh said, congratulating the DRDO, SFC and armed forces for the successful test.
The latest Agni-Prime test comes after the flight-trial of the over 5,000-km range Agni-5 intercontinental ballistic missile with multiple warheads (MIRVs or multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles) for the first time on March 11.
The solid propellant fuelled Agni-Prime, the smallest and lightest among the entire Agni series of ballistic missiles, will further bolster the country’s strategic deterrence capabilities once it is inducted after a few more tests.
Agni-Prime incorporates new propulsion systems and composite rocket motor casings as well as advanced navigation and guidance systems. Significantly, it is also a canister-launch system like Agni-V, which is now being inducted by the SFC, as reported by TOI earlier.
A canister-launch missile — with the warhead already mated with the missile — gives the armed forces the requisite operational flexibility to store it for long periods, swiftly transport it through rail or road when required, and fire it from wherever they want.
The Agni-Prime will gradually replace the Agni-I (700-km) missiles in the arsenal of SFC, which also has the Prithvi-2 (350-km), Agni-2 (2,000-km), Agni-3 (3,000-km) and Agni-5 ballistic missiles.
As of now, all the Agni series of missiles inducted by the SFC carry only a single warhead. The recent flight-test of the three-stage Agni-5 with MIRVs, consequently, represents a big leap forward in strategic deterrence for India.
A MIRV payload basically means a single missile carrying several nuclear warheads, each programmed to be released at different speeds with different trajectories to hit different targets that can be hundreds of kilometers apart.
DRDO has been working for several years on MIRVs and “manoeuvering warheads or intelligent re-entry vehicles” for the Agni missiles to defeat enemy ballistic missile defence systems and ensure effective retaliation to a first-strike by an adversary.

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