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As Agni-5 takes aim, India eyes ICBM

Sources say missile scientists are already looking at newer possibilities in long-range missiles like MIRV and MaRV.

Published: 10th January 2012 02:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:12 PM   |  A+A-

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File picture of An Indian Agni-II on a road-mobile launcher, displayed at the Republic Day Parade at New Delhi (Image Courtesy Wikimedia Commons).

BANGALORE: India’s big bang missile Agni-5 is moving towards the strike-zone carrying new technologies as a stepping stone for futuristic killer-missions. But silently, yet another story is being scripted for Agni-6, India’s club-class Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Range: in excess of 6,000 km.

Notwithstanding what happens with the A-5 launch, sources say missile scientists are already looking at newer possibilities in making future strikes meaningful and menacing. “There are many more areas in long-range missiles where future work can happen. Multiple independently-targeted re-entry vehicles (MIRV), manoeuvring re-entry vehicles (MaRV) which are considerably lighter using all-composite structure and intelligent counter measures against BMD (ballistic missile defences) are some of them,” sources said.

But military experts point out that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will have to travel some distance before achieving the MIRV/MaRV capabilities. “It is a very complex technology. It’s worth waiting to see when A-5 is finally inducted into the Services, with what features and in what numbers. Range and accuracy are factors one must watch for,” a warhead specialist with the Indian Army told Express.

Avinash Chander, Chief Controller, R&D (Missiles and Strategic Systems), DRDO, told Express over phone from New Delhi that his team has taken stock of the road ahead.

“Future systems may carry different types of payloads such as high energy weapons. Further systems whenever planned, will have some of these (read as MIRV/MarV) features,” he said.

On the factors that have influenced A-5 development, Chander, the brain behind the missile, said India needs a platform which has the range to cover its emerging area of influence.

“It also needs high mobility, safety and accuracy. A-5 provides a state-of-the-art weapon, a mix of front-end capabilities,” he said.

On the launch date of A-5, he said: “The launch campaign will officially begin in the middle of the month.”



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