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Agni-VI
Type ICBM
Place of origin India
Service history
In service 2018-19
Production history
Manufacturer Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO),
Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)
Specifications
Weight 70,000 kg[1][2]
Length 40.00 m[3]
Diameter 2 m[1]

Effective range 10,000 kilometres (6,214 mi)[3][4][5]
Warhead weight 3 tonnes[6]

Engine First/second stage solid, third liquid
Launch
platform
8 x 8 Tatra TEL and rail mobile launcher (canisterised missile package) (Land-based Version)[6]

Arihant Class submarine (SLBM version)
Transport Road or rail mobile (land-based variant)
Submarine (sea-based variant)

Agni-VI is an intercontinental ballistic missile being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the use of the Indian Armed Forces.[1][7]

Description

Agni-VI will be a three-stage intercontinental ballistic missile, which is in the hardware development phase, after its design phase was completed. Agni VI is expected to have Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Warheads as well as Maneuverable Reentry Vehicle (MaRV). And these maneuverable warheads will give Agni VI an extended range exact figure of which is currently classified.[6] It will be taller than its predecessor Agni V, and is expected to be flight tested by 2017.[6] The government of India is yet to approve the project, although DRDO has completed all calculations and started the engineering work.[6][3]

It is reported to be the latest and most advanced version among the Agni missiles. A DRDO scientist stated that the missile will carry four to six multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs), depending upon their weight. A few sources claim that the missile would be able to carry up to 10 MIRV warheads.[1][4] The Agni V, can carry only three MIRVs. Sources claim that the missile will have a strike range of 10,000 km,[3] though DRDO has refused to confirm the missile's range.[6] A senior scientist was quoted as saying that unlike the bulky Agni-III, the new generation Agni-VI missile will be sleeker, easily transportable and would be readily deployed. It will have the capability to be launched from submarine and from land-based launchers.[6][8]

History

Opacity regarding the development

File:Agni Missile Range comparison.svg

Range comparison of Agni missiles

Till 2009, it was reported that the Government of India had not considered the development of an ICBM with a range of 10,000 km or above. Speculations of an ongoing program for a longer range ICBM resurfaced in 2011. Some reports claimed that the ICBM is already named "Surya" and code named AGNI-VI.[9]

Other reports suggested that New Delhi had not given serious weight to the necessity for an ICBM. DRDO can take up a project to develop India’s ICBM only after permission from the government of India. Since India is not a signatory to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Indian missile program is not limited by any treaty commitment to cap the development of ICBM capability. Some media reports had occasionally suggested that, despite India being a non-signatory to MTCR, there is a voluntary moratorium on developing missiles beyond the range of 5,000 km.[10][11]

Indian Air Marshal's allusion to a longer range ICBM

In June 2011, for the very first time then IAF'S Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik vehemently argued in favour of broadening India's nuclear strike capabilities beyond the immediate neighbourhood. Naik, who also the head of the Chiefs of staff committee, stated that, "India should pursue an ICBM programme to acquire ranges of 10,000 km or even more. Breaking out of the regional context is important as the country's sphere of influence grows. We have no territorial designs on any country, but India needs the capability to match its sphere of influence." The air chief believes that an ICBM is within India's capabilities, saying that there was no point in capping the missile programme at 5,000 km[12]

Doubts about viability

In October 2011, a report published by The Pioneer raised doubts about DRDO's ability to independently develop the "seeker technology" (guidance technology) eligible for ICBMs, that could enable the missile to traverse long distances in excess of 10,000 km.[13] The same report also asserted Russia's willingness to provide India with help in the field of "seeker technology". The authenticity of the pioneer report is disputed by at least one foreign newspaper, with the counter-claim that the involvement of Russia is probably inflated out of proportion, because if the report about Russian involvement is true, Russia may be suspected of violating the Missile Technology Control Regime.[14] In response to the scepticism, a top DRDO scientist asserted that India has all the equipment and technology needed to develop ICBMs,[3] "but where the warhead should go or what the range should be will have to be a political call."[12]

Confirmation of the programme

In 20 June 2011, Indian Defence News published an article titled India Serious About 10,000 km ICBM which stated that India is seriously contemplating to enhance the reach of its strategic missiles and that the Ministry of Defense is considering a DRDO proposal to develop intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting targets 10,000 km away. Building an ICBM has international ramifications and the ultimate decision to go ahead with the proposal would be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).[10]

In April 2012, after the successful launch of Agni V, Saraswat revealed that India had no plan to cap the Agni programme and there will be more missiles in the series of Agni missile.[15]

DRDO Newsletter

Until April 2012, the existence of an ICBM program was unclear and was never officially acknowledged by the DRDO.[13] However, in the DRDO newsletter of May 2011, while describing the achievements of a recently promoted scientist, it revealed that he headed a program code named A6, which will be an ICBM with a range in between 6,000-10,000 km and like some versions of its precursor Agni V, it will be capable of underwater launch with MIRV. The letter read,

Chief Controller R&D (Missiles and Strategic Systems)

Shri Avinash Chander, Distinguished Scientist, Programme Director, SFD and Director, Advanced Systems Laboratory has been appointed as Chief Controller R&D (Missiles and Strategic Systems) wef 3 May 2011. He is an eminent scientist in the field of Missiles and is the Chief Designer of Long-range missile system, with specific contribution in Agni programme management, mission design, guidance, navigation, simulation and terminal guidance. He has unique achievement of delivering and deploying three long-range Agni missile weapon systems viz, A1, A2 and A3.

Presently, he is leading three major system developments; A2p, a technologically challenging state-of-the-art system; a 5,000 km canister-launched A5 system; and a 6000 km A6 system with multiple warheads (MIRV) capable of launching both from the ground and underwater.[16]

Recent developments

In May 2012, reports confirmed the development of another ICBM in the Agni series, a three-stage Agni VI missile. It was purported that the missile will be developed in 2014 or so and will have an even longer range, up to 10,000 km. The Agni VI will be sleeker than the Agni-V and capable of carrying at least 10 nuclear warheads, capable of targeting multiple targets at the same time.[1][3] In January 2013, DRDO chief V K Saraswat said that after the development of Agni V, DRDO will develop Agni VI, which will have Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) capability.[2] He said that the missile design has been completed and DRDO is in the hardware realisation phase.[8][17][18] Agni VI, the new multi-target missile under development, will serve as a ‘force multiplier’, Defence Research and Development Organisation chief V.K. Saraswat said on February 9, 2013.

Agni-VI SLBM

The SLBM version of missile will arm the Arihant class submarines of the Indian Navy. DRDO revealed in 2012 that it is also in the process of developing another variant of Agni-VI missile. This will be a submarine-launched solid-fuel missile with a maximum range of 6,000 kilometres and a payload of one tonne.[3][8][19]

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Subramanian, T. S. (4 February 2013). "Agni-VI all set to take shape". http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/agnivi-all-set-to-take-shape/article4379416.ece?homepage=true. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named idsafod19f
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named IBNLive
  4. 4.0 4.1 Jatinder Kaur Tur (May 27, 2012). "India will launch Agni VI next, says DRDO chief". http://www.deccanchronicle.com/channels/cities/hyderabad/india-will-launch-agni-vi-next-says-drdo-chief-135. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  5. Prerna Singh, edited by Atul Kohli (2010). Routledge handbook of Indian politics. London: Routledge. p. 345. ISBN 0415776856. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Shukla, Ajai. "Advanced Agni-6 missile with multiple warheads likely by 2017". http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/advanced-agni-6-missile-with-multiple-warheads-likely-by-2017-113050800034_1.html. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  7. "Get ready for Agni-VI, which can deliver 4 to 6 warheads 6000 km away". 4 February 2013. http://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india/get-ready-for-agni-vi-which-can-deliver-to-warheads-km-20043.html. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "DRDO developing missile capable of carrying multiple warheads". Zee News. http://zeenews.india.com/news/nation/drdo-developing-missile-capable-of-carrying-multiple-warheads_827762.html. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  9. "SURYA Missile". http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/india/surya.htm. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Courtesy, The Pioneer (20 June 2011). "India Serious About 10,000 km ICBM". http://www.defencenews.in/defence-news-internal.asp?get=new&id=541. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  11. "India's need for an ICBM". July 5, 2011. http://www.claws.in/index.php?action=master&task=900&u_id=159. Retrieved 22 February 2012. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Air chief PV Naik in favour of flexing missile power". http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/Air-chief-PV-Naik-in-favour-of-flexing-missile-power/Article1-708062.aspx. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 "India to Join ICBM Big league soon". http://dailypioneer.com/columnists/item/47621-with-russian-help-india-to-join-icbm-big-league-soon.html. 
  14. Administrator (Date:2011-10-10). "Indian media said Russia will provide for the Indian Agni-5 intercontinental missile guidance technology". http://www.9abc.net/index.php/archives/62453. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  15. "Agni V can launch mini-satellites too". 20 April 2012. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/243544/agni-v-can-launch-mini.html. 
  16. "A reported copy of the original newsletter by DRDO". May 2011. http://www.picvalley.net/v.php?p=u/2074/17853679775285552951329904587pJaDA6XeFXdhs3cE2F9M.JPG. Retrieved 22 February 2012. 
  17. "India working on Agni-VI missile, to be in world's elite nuclear club". 8 February 2013. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/india-working-on-agnivi-missile-to-be-in-worlds-elite-nuclear-club/1071407/. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  18. "India developing Agni-VI ballistic missile". 8 February 2013. http://www.newsbullet.in/india/34/39296. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  19. "DRDO Lab Develops Detonator for Nuclear Capable Agni-V Missile As It Gets Ready For Launch". 17 January 2012. http://www.defencenow.com/news/474/drdo-lab-develops-detonator-for-nuclear-capable-agni-v-missile-as-it-gets-ready-for-launch.html. 

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