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An Agni-II during the Republic Day Parade in 2004

BrahMos and the launch canister on display at the International Maritime Defence Show, IMDS-2007, St. Petersburg, Russia

The Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) was an Indian Ministry of Defence program for the research and development of a comprehensive range of missiles. The program was managed by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Ordnance Factories Board[1] in partnership with other Indian government research organisations.[2] The project started in early 1980s and ended in 2008 after these strategic missiles were successfully developed. The last major missile developed under the program was the Agni 3 intermediate-range ballistic missile which was successfully tested on 9 July 2007.[3] On 8 January 2008, the DRDO formally announced the successful completion of the IGMDP.[2] It added that the strategic integrated guided missile program was completed with its design objectives achieved since most of the missiles in the program had been developed and inducted by the Indian armed forces.[4]

Dr. Abdul Kalam, who conceived and worked on this program, later also became the President of India.[5]


By the start of 1980's, DRDL had developed competence in the fields of propulsion, navigation and manufacture of materials. Thus, India's political and scientific leadership, which included prime minister Indira Gandhi, Defence Minister R. Venkataraman, V.S. Arunachalam (Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister), decided that all these technologies should be consolidated. This led to the birth of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme. Dr. Abdul Kalam, who had previously been the project director for the SLV-3 programme at ISRO, was inducted as the DRDL Director in 1983 to conceive and lead it. While the scientists proposed the development of each missile consecutively, the Defence Minister R. Venkataraman asked them to reconsider and develop all the missiles simultaneously. Thus, four projects, to be pursued concurrently, were born under the IGMDP:

  • Short range surface-to-surface missile (code-named Prithvi)
  • Short range low-level surface-to-air missile (code-named Trishul)
  • Medium range surface-to-air missile (code-named Akash) and
  • Third-generation anti-tank missile (code-named Nag).

The Agni missile was initially conceived in the IGMDP as a technology demonstrator project in the form of a re-entry vehicle, and was later upgraded to a ballistic missile with different ranges.[2] As part of this program, the Interim Test Range at Balasore in Orissa was also developed for missile testing.[6]


After India test-fired the first Prithvi missile in 1988, and the Agni missile in 1989, the Missile Technology Control Regime (then an informal grouping established in 1987 by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States) decided to restrict access to any technology that would help India in its missile development program. To counter the MTCR, the IGMDP team formed a consortium of DRDO laboratories, industries and academic institutions to build these sub-systems, components and materials. Though this slowed down the progress of the program, India successfully developed indigenously all the restricted components denied to it by the MTCR.[6]

Prithvi missile system

File:Prithvi 02.jpg

Test flight of the Prithvi SS-150

Missile Type Warhead Payload (kg) Range (km) Dimension (m) Fuel/Stages Weight (kg) In service CEP (m)
Prithvi-I Tactical Nuclear, HE, submunitions, FAE, chemical 1,000 150 8.55X1.1 Single stage liquid 4,400 1988 30–50
Prithvi-II Tactical Nuclear, HE, submunitions, FAE, chemical 350–750 350 8.55X1.1 Single stage liquid 4,600 1996 10–15
Prithvi-III Tactical Nuclear, HE, submunitions, FAE, chemical 500–1,000 350–600 8.55X1 Single stage solid 5,600 2004 10–15

The Prithvi missile (from Sanskrit पृथ्वी pṛthvī "Earth") is a family of tactical surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) and is India's first indigenously developed ballistic missile. Development of the Prithvi began in 1983, and it was first test-fired on 25 February 1988 from Sriharikota, SHAR Centre, Pottisreeramulu Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh. It has a range of up to 150 to 300 km. The land variant is called Prithvi while the naval operational variant of Prithvi I and Prithvi II class missiles are codenamed Dhanush (meaning Bow). Both variants are used for surface targets.

The Prithvi is said to have its propulsion technology derived from the Soviet SA-2 surface-to-air missile.[7] Variants make use of either liquid or both liquid and solid fuels. Developed as a battlefield missile, it could carry a nuclear warhead in its role as a tactical nuclear weapon. The initial project framework of the IGMDP envisioned the Prithvi missile as a short-range ballistic missile with variants for the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy.[8] Over the years the Prithvi missile specifications have undergone a number of changes. The Prithvi I class of missiles were inducted into the Indian Army in 1994, while Prithvi II with an extended range were being inducted in 2006. Prithvi III class has a longer-range of 350 km, and was successfully test fired in 2004.[9]

Agni missile system

Missile Project Type Warhead Payload (kg) Range (km) Dimension (m) Fuel/Stages Weight (kg) In service CEP (m)
Agni-I IGMDP Strategic Nuclear, HE, penetration, sub-munitions, FAE 1,000 700–1,250[10] 15X1 Single stage solid 12,000 2002 25[11]
Agni-II IGMDP Strategic Nuclear, HE, penetration, sub-munitions, FAE 750–1,000 2,000–3,500[12] 20X1 Two and half stage solid 16,000 1999 30
Agni-III IGMDP Strategic Nuclear, HE, penetration, sub-munitions, FAE 2,000–2,500 3,500–5,000[13] 17X2 Two stage solid 44,000
22,000 (latest version)[14]
2011 40
Agni-IV Agni-IV Strategic Nuclear, HE, penetration, sub-munitions, FAE 800–1,000 3,000–4,000 20X1 Two stage solid 17,000 Tested
Agni-V Agni-V Strategic Nuclear, HE, penetration, sub-munitions, FAE 1,500 (3–10 MIRV) 5,500–5,800 17X2 Three Stage solid 50,000 Tested <10 m[14]
Agni-VI Agni-VI Strategic Nuclear, HE, penetration, sub-munitions, FAE 1,000 (10 MIRV) 8,000 – 10,000[15] 40X1.1[15] Three Stage solid 55,000[15] Under development

The Agni missile (Sanskrit: अग्नि, Agnī, root of English ignite) is a family of Medium to Intercontinental range ballistic missiles developed by DRDO of India. The initial Technology demonstrator version had a range of 1500 km but were based on a solid and a liquid stage making for long preparation before firing. Learning from this the production variants of Agni are solid fuel based to allow for swift retaliation against adversaries.[16] Indian government stated in its official press release that its nuclear and missile development programmes are not Pakistan-centric. That the Pakistani threat is only a marginal factor in New Delhi's security calculus and Agni is at the heart of deterrence in the larger context of Sino-Indian equation.[17] Missiles of Agni series are developed by DRDO and manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited.

Agni-VI is under development as independent projects pursuant to the policy changes made by the DRDO after the end of the IGMDP in 2008.

Trishul missile system

Trishul (Sanskrit: त्रिशूल, meaning trident) is the name of a short range surface-to-air missile developed by India as a part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. It has a range of 9 km and is fitted with a 5.5 kg warhead. Designed to be used against low-level (sea skimming) targets at short range, the system has been developed to defend naval vessels against missiles and also as a short range surface to air missile on land. Guidance consists of three different guiding beams, with the guidance handed over progressively to a narrower beam as the missile approaches the target.

According to reports, the range of the missile is 12 km and is fitted with a 15 kg warhead. The weight of the missile is 130 kg. The length of the missile is 3.1 m.[18]

Development costs of the missile touched almost US$70 million to the taxpayers. India officially shut the down Trishul Missile project on 27 February 2008.[19] The program, one of the five missiles being developed by Defense Research and Development Organization as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program, has been shelved. Defence Minister George Fernandes indicated this in Rajya Sabha (upper house of parliament), when he said the Trishul missile had been de-linked from user service, though it would be continued as a technology demonstrator.[20]

Akash missile system

An Akash missile being test fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur, Orissa. The launch platform is a BMP-2 vehicle

Akash (Sanskrit: आकाश meaning Sky) is a medium range surface-to-air missile developed as part of India's Integrated Guided Missile Development Program to achieve self-sufficiency in the area of surface-to-air missiles. It is the most expensive missile project ever undertaken by the Union government in the 20th century. Development costs skyrocketed to almost US$120 million which is far more than other similar systems.[19]

Akash is a medium-range surface-to-air missile with an intercept range of 30 km. It has a launch weight of 720 kg, a diameter of 35 cm and a length of 5.8 metres. Akash flies at supersonic speed, reaching around Mach 2.5. It can reach an altitude of 18 km. A digital proximity fuse is coupled with a 55 kg pre-fragmented warhead, while the safety arming and detonation mechanism enables a controlled detonation sequence. A self-destruct device is also integrated. It is propelled by a solid fuelled booster stage. The missile has a terminal guidance system capable of working through electronic countermeasures. The entire Akash SAM system allows for attacking multiple targets (up to 4 per Battery). The Akash missile's use of ramjet propulsion system allows it to maintain its speed without deceleration, unlike the Patriot missiles.[21] The missile is supported by a multi-target and multi-function phased array fire control radar called the 'Rajendra' with a range of about 80 km in search, and 60 km in terms of engagement.[22]

The missile is completely guided by the Radar, without any active guidance of its own. This allows it greater capability against jamming as the aircraft self-protection jammer would have to work against the high power Rajendra, and the aircraft being attacked is not alerted by any terminal seeker on the Akash itself.

Design of the missile is similar to that of the SA-6 with four long tube ramjet inlet ducts mounted mid-body between wings. For pitch/yaw control four clipped triangular moving wings are mounted on mid-body. For roll control four inline clipped delta fins with ailerons are mounted before the tail. However, internal schema shows a completely modernised layout, including an Onboard computer with special optimised trajectories, and an all digital Proximity fuse.

The Akash system meant for the Army uses the T-72 tank chassis for its launcher and radar vehicles. The Rajendra derivative for the Army is called the Battery Level Radar-III. The Air Force version uses an Ashok Leyland truck platform to tow the missile launcher, while the Radar is on a BMP-2 chassis and is called the Battery Level Radar-II. In either case, the launchers carry three ready-to-fire Akash missiles each. The launchers are automated, autonomous and networked to a command post and the guidance radar. They are slewable in azimuth and elevation. The Akash system can be deployed by rail, road or air.

The first test flight of Akash missile was conducted in 1990, with development flights up to March 1997.

The IAF has initiated the process to induct the Akash surface-to-air missiles developed as a part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. The Multiple target handling capability of Akash weapon system was demonstrated by live firing in a C4I environment during the trials. Two Akash missiles intercepted two fast moving targets in simultaneous engagement mode in 2005 itself. The Akash System's 3-D central acquisition radar (3-D car) group mode performance was then fully established.[23][24]

In December,2007 Indian Air Force completed user trials for the Akash missile system. The trials, which were spread over ten days were successful and the missile hit its target on all five occasions. Before the ten-day trial at Chandipur, the Akash system's ECCM Evaluation tests were carried out at Gwalior Air force base while mobility trials for the system vehicles were carried out at Pokhran. The IAF had evolved the user Trial Directive to verify the Akash's consistency in engaging targets. The following trials were conducted: Against low flying near range target, long range high altitude target, crossing and approaching target and ripple firing of two missiles from the same launcher against a low altitude receding target.[25] Following this, the IAF declared that it would initiate the induction of 2 squadrons strength (each squadron with 2 batteries) of this missile system, to begin with. Once deliveries are complete, further orders would be placed to replace retiring SA-3 GOA (Pechora) SAM systems.[26][27] In February 2010, the Indian Air Force ordered six more squadrons of the Akash system, taking orders to eight of the type. The Indian Army is also expected to order the Akash system.

Nag missile system

Nag Missile

Nag (Sanskrit: नाग meaning cobra) is India's third generation "Fire-and-forget" anti-tank missile. It is an all weather, top attack missile with a range of 3 to 7 km.

The missile uses an 8 kg tandem HEAT warhead capable of defeating modern armour including ERA (Explosive Reactive Armour) and composite armour. Nag uses Imaging Infra-Red (IIR) guidance with day and night capability. Mode of launch for the IIR seeker is LOBL (Lock on Before Launch). Nag can be mounted on an infantry vehicle; a helicopter launched version will also be available with integration work being carried out with the HAL Dhruv.

Separate versions for the Army and the Air Force are being developed. For the Army, the missiles will be carried by specialist carrier vehicles (NAMICA-Nag Missile Carrier) equipped with a thermal imager for target acquisition. NAMICA is a modified BMP-2 IFV licence produced as "Sarath" in India. The carriers are capable of carrying four ready-to-fire missiles in the observation/launch platform which can be elevated with more missiles available for reload within the carrier. For the Air Force, a nose-mounted thermal imaging system has been developed for guiding the missile's trajectory "Helina". The missile has a complete fiberglass structure and weighs around 42 kg.

Nag was test fired for the 45th time on 19 March 2005 from the Test Range at Ahmednagar (Maharastra), signalling the completion of the developmental phase. It will now enter production phase, subject to user trials and acceptance by the Indian Army.

Further versions of the missile may make use of an all-weather Milli Metric Wave (MMW) seeker as an additional option. This seeker has reportedly been developed and efforts are on to integrate it into the missile.

Other developments

There were a number of failures and successes, which led to an expansion of the program in the 1990s, to develop the long range Agni missile, a ballistic missile (codenamed Sagarika), which would be the naval version of the Prithvi, and an inter-continental-ballistic-missile (codenamed Surya missile) with a range of 8,000–12,000 km.[28]

In 1998, the Government of India, signed an agreement with Russia to design, develop, manufacture and market a Supersonic Cruise Missile System which has been successfully accomplished by 2006. BrahMos is a supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land. At speeds of Mach 2.5 to 2.8, it is the world's fastest cruise missile and is about three and a half times faster than the American subsonic Harpoon cruise missile. BAPL is contemplating a hypersonic Mach 8 version of the missile, named as the BrahMos II. BrahMos II will be the first hypersonic cruise missile and is expected to be ready by 2012–13. The laboratory testing of the missile has started.[29]

According to a statement by Dr. S Prahlada (DRDO Director), new missile and weapons systems would henceforth be developed in five-year programs and include both Indian private industries as well as foreign partners to lower costs. Further development work on Nag and Surya missile would continue independently.[30] In addition, the DRDO is also developing a laser-based weapon system as part of its ballistic missile defence program to intercept and destroy missiles soon after they are launched towards the country.[31]

Since 2008, follow on strategic projects are being either pursued singly (e.g. the Agni project) whereas tactical systems could involve joint ventures with foreign partners.[32]

India is said to be in the intermediate stages of developing a new cruise missile, Nirbhay (Sanskrit: निर्भय meaning fearless). The subsonic Nirbhay is said to be 6 m in length with a 520 mm diameter, weigh 1,000 kg and have a 1,000 km range with a speed of 0.7 mach. The technology demonstrator flight is planned for end-2009.[33]

In September 2008, Indian scientists developed a path-breaking technology that has the potential to increase the range of missiles and satellite launch vehicles by at least 40%.The enhanced range is made possible by adding a special-purpose coating of chromium metal to the blunt nose cone of missiles and launch vehicles. This would add-up on the stated range.[34]

A new tactical missile that will fill the gap between the Pinaka rocket system and the Prithvi series of missile has been developed. The first successful test of the missile was carried on 17 July 2011. The 150 km range missile has been named Prahaar. Each Road mobile launcher is designed to carry six missiles.[35]

See also

External links



  1. "Indian Ordnance Factories: Ordnance Factory Itarsi". Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Integrated Guided Missile Development Program". Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  3. "Agni III Launched Successfully". New Delhi, India. 12 April 2007. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  4. "India scraps integrated guided missile programme". Chennai, India. 9 January 2008. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  5. "Biography: Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam". Vigyan Prasar Science Portal. Retrieved 2007-05-14. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 T. S., Subramanian (31 January 2009). "Missile shield". India. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  7. John Pike. "Prithvi – India Missile Special Weapons Delivery Systems". Retrieved 2010-10-08. 
  8. Centre for Non Proliferation Studies Archive accessed 18 October 2006.
  9. "Dhanush/Sagarika (Project K-15) (India) – Jane's Naval Weapon Systems". Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  10. "Nuclear-Capable Agni-1 Ballistic Missile's Range Can Be Extended To 1500 Km". Aa Me, In. 28 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  11. "Agni-1 | Missile ThreatMissile Threat". Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  12. Alternate Name:Agni-II. "Agni-2 | Missile ThreatAgni-II". Missile Threat. Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  13. "Agni-3 | Missile ThreatMissile Threat". Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Agni-V vital: Tessy Thomas". 2 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 "Agni-VI with 10000 km range to be ready by 2014". Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  16. "The Indian Drive towards Weaponization: the Agni Missile Program". Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  17. "Feature". Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  18. "Trishul Surface To Air Missile Not A Failure Says Government". 17 May 2007. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 "India Shuts Down Trishul Missile Project" 27 February 2008
  20. [1][dead link]
  21. T.S. Subramanian (11 December 2005) "Akash missile achieves a milestone" The Hindu'.' Retrieved 18 October 2006.
  22. Global Security.Org article accessed 18 October 2006.
  23. "IAF initiates process for inducting Akash and Trishul SAM's". 3 May 2007. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  24. "Air Force Impressed With Akash Surface To Air Missiles Performance". Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  25. "DRDO report on Akash Air Defence Weapon System"DRDO
  26. "IAF to induct indigenous Akash missile". Sify News. 26 December 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2007. 
  27. Ajai Shukla (23 January 2008)"Missile mission meets target" Business Standard
  28. John Pike. "Surya – India Missile Special Weapons Delivery Systems". Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  29. BrahMos Website accessed 18 October 2006.
  30. "The Hindu News Update Service". Chennai, India: 29 January 2008. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  31. "The Hindu News Update Service". Chennai, India: 18 January 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  32. "The Hindu News Update Service". Chennai, India: 9 January 2008. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  33. "India's New Missile on the Cards". Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  34. "New tech to boost missile range by 40%". The Times of India. 10 September 2008. 
  35. India all set to test new short-range tactical missile

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