Agni-Prime ballistic missile flight-tested off Odisha coast - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla

Indian ballistic missile flight tested by Strategic Forces Command and DRDO


By Vikas Gupta

Defence News of India, April 4, 2024


The Strategic Forces Command (SFC), along with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), conducted a successful flight-test of the new-generation ballistic missile – the Agni-Prime, or Agni-P – on Wednesday evening.


“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,” said a ministry of defence (MoD) release on Thursday.


While the MoD is silent on the Agni-P missile’s targeting, it has been developed mainly for nuclear strikes against targets in Pakistan. Its range of about 1,500 kilometres (km) covers Tibet and reaches some targets in the Chinese mainland. However, it can comfortably cover all of Pakistan’s territory. 


The Agni-P will replace the Prithvi, Agni-1 and Agni-2 missiles in India’s arsenal – ballistic missiles that were built two decades ago with technologies now considered outdated.


While the Agni-P will be the workhorse of the nuclear deterrent against Pakistan, the Agni-5 will be the mainstay of the anti-China nuclear arsenal.


“Agni-P is a new generation, advanced variant of Agni class of missiles. It is a canisterised missile with range capability between 1,000 and 2,000 kms,” said the MoD.


The Agni-P will enter service as a two-stage, solid propellant missile. Both stages will have composite rocket motors and guidance systems with electro-mechanical actuators. The missiles will be guided to their targets by inertial navigation systems (INS) that are based on advanced ring-laser gyroscopes.


The Agni-P and Agni-5 ballistic missiles trace their origins back to the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) that then DRDO chief, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, launched in the early 1980s.


The launch was witnessed by the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Strategic Forces Command and senior officials from DRDO and the Indian Army.


Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the DRDO, SFC and the armed forces for the successful test, stated the MoD. 


He stated that the successful development and induction of the missile will be an excellent force multiplier for the armed forces. Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan and Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr Samir V Kamat appreciated the efforts of SFC and DRDO for the successful flight test.