NOV 25

Preliminary   > Science and Technology   >   Defence technology   >   Missile defence systems

Why in news?

  • India has carried out a successful training launch of an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile, Agni-3 from APJ Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha..

About Agni-3:

  • Agni-3 is an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • The first known developmental trial of Agni-3 was conducted back in 2006, but could not yield the expected result. It was later subsequently successfully flight-tested in 2007 and the system has been successfully tested several times since then.
  • The missile is powered by a two-stage solid propellant system.
  • The missile has a strike range of over 3,000 and is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads.
  • It can carry a warhead of 1.5 tonnes, which is protected by a carbon all-composite heat shield.

History of Agni missiles:

  • India began testing the Agni series of missiles in 1989 with the first test for Agni 1, an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile, with a range of around 1,000 km
  • It was developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP)
  • At that time only the US, the erstwhile Soviet Union, China, France and Israel, had IRBM technology.
  • Since then, DRDO labs have continued to work on it, bringing the latest available Agni 5 to its present capability.
  • In addition to the IRBM-capable nations, only North Korea and the UK have ICBM technology at the moment.
  • The next generation of the missile, Agni VI, under development, is expected to have a range of around 8,000 km.

Range of Agni Class of Missiles:

  • Agni I: Range of 700-800 km.
  • Agni II: Range more than 2000 km.
  • Agni III: Range of more than 2,500 Km
  • Agni IV: Range is more than 3,500 km and can fire from a road mobile launcher.
  • Agni-V: The longest of the Agni series, an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a range of over 5,000 km.

IGMDP (Integrated Guided Missile Development Program):

  • It was conceived by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to enable India attain self-sufficiency in the field of missile technology.
  • It was approved in 1983 and completed in 2012.
  • The 5 missiles (P-A-T-N-A) developed under this program are:
    • Prithvi: Short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile.
    • Agni: Ballistic missiles with different ranges, i.e., Agni (1,2,3,4,5)
    • Trishul: Short-range low-level surface to air missile.
    • Nag: 3rd generation anti-tank missile.
    • Akash: Medium-range surface-to-air missile.


Consider the following statements regarding ‘Agni’ class of missiles:

1. They are supersonic cruise missiles

2. They are capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2