Wheeler Island, Odisha: India has successfully test-launched its new ballistic missile, Agni-5, which can carry a nuclear warhead not just to Beijing and Shanghai but even the northern-most tip of China – Habin City. (Analysis: What Agni-V means for India)
The test-launch, done from Wheeler Island at 8:43 am, off the Odisha coast, for the second time in two years, is seen as a major step in India’s efforts to become a regional power that can counter the dominance of China.(Pics: Test-launch of Agni-5)
The Agni-5 is about 17 meters long and weighs 50 tons. It is a three-stage missile designed to carry a 1.5-ton warhead with a range of 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles), allowing it the farthest reach among all Indian missiles. The Agni-3 is India’s current longest-range missile and can cover a distance of 3,500 kilometers (2,100 miles).
The versatile missile system can be launched from a road mobile vehicle or even from a special railway bogey where it can be kept hidden and moved around at will. (Missiles of the world: a look at countries’ nuclear arsenals)
The first test of the Agni-5 missile was conducted in April 2012 when guidance systems – critical in determining the efficiency of missile – worked perfectly.
The development of Agni-5 began in 1983. Sources say that a few more tests will be required before the missile is ready for induction and deployment, most likely in 2017.
Agni-5 gives India the ability to launch nuclear weapons from strategic bombers and submarines. It will give India the ability to hit back or have second-strike capability even after a nuclear attack.