India on Wednesday announced it will test Agni-V missile with a range of 5,000-kilometre within a year, asserting the country’s capability to develop ballistic missiles remains ahead of China.
After recent success of the 3,500-km-Agni-III missile, declared ready for deployment, Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister V.K. Saraswat said the Agni-V programme moved out of the drawing board and material cutting stage to checking of sub-systems.
“The tempo will pick up and within a year testing [for Agni-V] will be done” Dr. Saraswat, who is also the Director-General of Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) said at a press conference along with a team of scientists.
No changes in design
Emphasising on the maturity of the missile development programme in the country, he said, as for the Agni-V, the DRDO would like to get the test right at the first time and there would be no changes in the design.
“The design and drawing is frozen, there is no further development effort required,” Programme Director Avinash Chander said, adding the missile did not envisage manoeuvring capability.
Ruling out the possibility of carrying out a test to demonstrate the anti-satellite capability, the DRDO Chief said the country has the platform to handle the task with building blocks in place. Agni-V will be adequate to mitigate threat both in terms of range and lethality with the DRDO preparing to launch it from canisters providing the missile flexibility to be launched from multiple platforms on land and sea.
“There is no requirement to build and store [the missiles] since it also has an impact on resources. We have the capability to convert to weapon systems at the shortest time,” Dr. Saraswat said. Swift conversion is made possible since the industry is involved in the programme right from its beginning without the need to transfer technology.
As for China, the DRDO scientists said the 2,500-km DF-21 missile is the closest it has to Agni-III. Beijing is also working on other versions, including carrying it over 6,000-km to 8,000-km range, yet “our accuracy is better than China.”
On progress of ‘Nirbhay’ cruise missile, the DRDO chief said the organisation completed propulsion stage and preparing to build systems but not yet ready for integration stage.
To the upcoming field trials by Indian Army between Russian T-90 and indigenous Main Battle Tank Arjun, he said these were to test the conditions best suited to locate these tanks. He said the run-off was not to comparative evaluation of the performance of these battle machines.