‘Missile can be launched in minutes after canister-launch capability’

Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), Agni-V, which was successfully test-fired for its full range of 5,000 km on Sunday, would be a “stop-and-launch” road mobile system that could be fired within minutes once endowed with a canister-thrust capability.

Talking to The Hindu during the recent mission at Wheeler Island, Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and Director General, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Avinash Chander said that nobody would be able to intercept the “state-of-the-art” missile once launched. It would be difficult to spot, track and prevent. “That is the strength,” he added

Describing the three-stage, solid fuelled Agni-V as a totally “fire-and-forget system”, he said the canister-based missile when delivered to the user would be fully charged and provides high operational flexibility. “It will be a highly mobile system and makes it invulnerable,” the DRDO chief said. One of the important features of Agni-V was that it could use satellite-based navigation systems, including GPS, Glonass and India’s Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS). “It can’t be jammed easily since it is from deep inside,” he added.

He said that Agni V was an ICBM and would provide strategic depth. “In that sense, it becomes a true deterrent.”

Mr. Chander said India became totally self-sufficient in long range missile systems with the second successive test-firing of Agni-V. He said that two consecutive tests of this class of weapons were generally considered sufficient to certify the design and further tests would be generally needed for user training. After a canister-based launch in the coming months and few more trials, it would be inducted by 2015. Although the capability existed to extend the range, there was no need as the 5,000-km plus Agni V was adequate to meet the present threat perception.

Replying to a question, he said, “There is no plan to carry MIRVs on Agni V.” It was a separate technology and would be taken up on another vehicle. It was still in technology development stage, he added.

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