India tested Agni 5 long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons on 18 January 2018, paving the way for the membership to a small list of countries with access to intercontinental missiles and putting most of China in its reach. This is the 5th test of the strategic missile. Agni 5 was launched from Abdul Kalam Island, off Odisha State in eastern India in the morning, traveling for around 19 minutes and 3,000miles. In a statement, the Indian Ministry of Defense said that all objectives of the mission had been “successfully met.”
The missile will be inducted in the India’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) in the coming days. Strategic Forces Command is responsible for initiating the process of delivering nuclear weapons and warheads in the event of war. The SFC currently has Prithvi, Dhanush, Agni-I, Agni-II, and Agni-III missiles under its purview. In this video, Defense Updates analysis the capabilities of Agni 5 and examines why China considers it a ‘Direct Threat’? Agni 5’s actual range is classified. Though the reported range of Agni 5 is 5000km, it is widely believed that Agni 5 has a range of more than 8000 km. Chinese experts have claimed after the first test in 2012, that the missile has the potential to reach targets 8000 km away.
India will continue to keep ambiguity over the range of the missile, probably to address the western audience who may feel uncomfortable with India’s ability to reach their shores. Even with a stated range of 5000 km, Agni 5can hit most parts of China including Beijing. The Agni 5 is a three-stage solid-fueled missile with composite motor casing in the second and third stage. In many aspects, the Agni-5 carries forward the Agni-3 pedigree. With composites used extensively to reduce weight, and a third stage added on, the Agni-5 can fly significantly more than its predecessors.
The Agni-5 is specially tailored for road-mobility and is cauterized as well. The missile utilizes a canister and will be launched from it. Made of maraging steel, the canister provides a hermetically sealed atmosphere that preserves the missile for years. Since the missile is ejected using a gas generator from the canister, the missile could be launched from any pre-surveyed launch location without the need for any pre-built launch site. The launcher, which is known as the Transport-cum-Tiltingvehicle-5, is a 140-ton, 30-meter, a 7-axle trailer pulled by a 3-axle Volvo truck. The canister design reduces the reaction time drastically…just a few minutes from stop-to-launch and makes it very hard to take out with a preempted strike.
Agni 5 has a speed of Mach 24 and an accuracy of less than 10 m. It has multiple simultaneous guidance systems like Ring laser gyroscope and inertial navigation system, optionally augmented by GPS and IndianRegional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) Terminal guidance possibly has radar scene correlation. The multiple guidance systems make it very hard to jam. The missile is India’s most advanced inits Agni series missile—the name means fire in Hindi. It is capable of delivering a payload of 1.5tons, enough to carry a fusion-assisted fissile nuclear warhead Though exact details are classified, it is also widely speculated that Agni 5, feature Multiple Independently Reentry vehicle (MIRVs).
MIRV is critical, because of the following. 1. Each missile can carry 2 to 6 separate nuclear warheads. 2. Each warhead can be assigned to a different target. 3. MIRV capable missile is much harder to intercept when compare to the normal missile since they saturate the Anti Ballistic Missile Defense system with ‘n’ number of warheads simultaneously. 4. MIRVs ensure a credible second-strike capability even with few missiles. The test comes months after a military stand-off between India and China over the 34-square-mile Doklam Plateau, a Himalayan pass between China and Bhutan that India perceives as a strategic buffer. The rivals fought a war in 1962 over disputed borders, which have never been formally resolved.
The rise of China and it’s increasingly assertive behavior has made not only India but also other Asian nations to rethink strategic dynamics. India conducted joint military exercises with japan recently in the Indian Ocean, a key area where China is attempting to exert greater economic influence as well as flex its muscles as a regional naval power. India, Japan, and U.S are also participating in the annual Malabar naval exercise with an aim to bolster defense coordination with an eye on China. Agni 5 is India’s powerful deterrence against any Chinese aggression. This is one leg of India’s nuclear triad, with the others being nuclear-capable jet aircraft like Sukhoi 30 MKI & amp; nuclear powered nuclear missile-carrying submarine-like INS Arihant. Nuclear Triad is the ability to launch nukes from Land, Air, and Sea.
A Chinese missile expert warned that India’s latest test of Agni 5 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), poses a direct threat to China’ssecurity. The statement was published in China’s GlobalTimes, which is considered to the governments’ mouthpiece. Earlier also China has raised concerns about Agni 5. The concerns are legitimate as now India has the missile with the capability to strike deep inside China and this has stabilized the balance of power, which was earlier heavily tilted towards China.