India successfully test fired its new nuclear-capable Agni-P medium-range ballistic missile from off the coast of Odisha on Friday morning. This is the third test of the Agni-P Missile System. The first test of the missile was carried in June 2021 and second test in December 2021. All three tests of this missile were successful. The Agni-P is a new generation of advanced varient of the Agni series of long-range ballistic missiles. This missile can be used to destroy enemy targets in the Indo-Pacific Ocean. The missile is two stage canisterised missile with the striking range capability of 1500 to 2000 kilometres. Agni-Prime can be launched from rail and road and can be stored for a very long time period.
The Missile was test fired at approximately at around 9:45 am. During the test flight, the missile travelled its maximum range and met all test objectives successfully. This third successful test launch of the Agni-P Missile proves its accuracy and reliability.
“The performance of the Agni-P system has been validated using the data obtained by a number of range instrumentation like radar, telemetry and electro optical tracking systems deployed at different locations including two down range ships at terminal point to cover the entire trajectory.” defense officials said in a given statement.
Some reports suggests that, India has developed the Agni-P Missile System to replace the Agni-1, Agni-2 and Prithvi series of ballistic missiles. The Agni-P is equipped with the latest generation technologies and is very much accurate and is easy to use.
Because of the High Accuracy, Excellent Mobility, Maneuverability and long-range of the Agni-P, this missile can also be used as a anti-ship ballistic missile or as a Carrier-killer. The missile can be used to sink chinese aircraft carriers in the Indo-Pacific Ocean.
Indian defence experts see the Agni-P as part of work in progress towards an advanced anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) development for enhancing future sea denial capability against Chinese carrier battle groups in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
Till September 2022, DRDO had completed design work of another land-based 1,500 km (930 mi) range missile to attack targets across Line of Actual Control with an anti ship variant against aircraft carriers to cover Indian carriers in Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea.
Agni-P is designed by DRDO, the missile is designed as the successor of the Agni-I and Agni-II missiles in the operational service of Strategic Forces Command with significant upgrades in the form of composite motor casing, maneuverable reentry vehicle (MaRV) along with improved propellants, navigation and guidance systems.
It is the sixth missile in the Agni ballistic missile series.
The development of Agni-P became crucial part of India’s Indo-Pacific strategy to tackle China’s plan of having five or six aircraft carrier battle groups by 2035 to cover both Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean with access to future overseas logistical bases around the region such as the one it currently has in Djibouti.
Chinese military expert accepts that there is a capability enhancement demand in India as far as Anti Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) is concerned. Agni-P test also increases the chance of India to be part of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
The Agni-P missile has maneuverable reentry vehicle (MaRV) capability that delivered the warheads into two separate locations. The missile is stored in a hermetically sealed tandem twin canister launcher and transported through road and rail. It uses cold launch mechanism and can be fired in salvo mode.
As per V. K. Saraswat, MIRV and MaRV technology were already on advance stages of development for Agni-VI in 2013.
The MaRV carries four delta fins for the terminal phase of the flight to avoid missile defense system. It is a new class of missile in Agni Series which is half the weight of Agni-III. Both first and second stage of Agni-P are made up of composite material for the purpose of weight reduction, which was mastered during Agni-V project.
The missile carries an improved guidance package and propulsion system covering maximum distance of 2000 km with 1.5 ton payload.
According to military analysts, Agni-P is primarily aimed at countering Pakistan’s forces owing to the fact that its range is insufficient to reach all parts of mainland China.
One of the objectives behind the development of Agni-P is to achieve maximum manoeuvrability against missile defense system and higher accuracy for precision strike.
The Agni-P is the first ‘decleared’ MIRV missile in India’s missile arsenal. It’s weight is 50% less than Agni-III. The Missile is manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited.
Technical Specifications of the Agni-P Missile System
The missile has the weight of 11,000 kg (24,000 lb). It has the length of 10.5 m (34 ft 5 in) and the diameter of 1.15 m (3 ft 9 in). It is capable of carrying warheads of three types, including – Nuclear, thermobaric and High Explosive. Warhead weights can be between 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) – 3,000 kg (6,600 lb).
The Missile uses solid fuel system and is powered by two stage rocket motor engine. The Missile has a very high degree of accuracy of 10 m CEP. The launch platform of the Agni-P is a 8 x 8 BEML – Tatra transporter erector launcher.
The Missile uses multiple types of guidence system to achieve a high level of accuracy, it’s guidence systems includes, ring laser gyro inertial navigation system with redundant micro inertial navigation and digital control system, it also has a additional option of being equipped with GPS/NavIC satellite guidance methods.