SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK
India’s longest ranged land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a range of over 5500km will see a decade of its first flight that happened in 2012, Since then it has been tested 7 times, that also included canisterised configuration and now India plans to deploy its longest-range most potent nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-V this year, thus ending its developmental and user trial phases and moving towards its active deployment.
Agni-V for many might seem to be the end of India’s land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with the focus now shifting towards the development of underwater intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capabilities for its upcoming nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. India has developed K-15 and K-4 SLBM and has given official sanction for development of K5 and K6 missiles further, this notion does get backing that the development of land-based long-range ballistic missiles is avoided or staggered with the focus now shifting towards the development of the Submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), but that not entirely true.
DRDO is working on a land-based variant of the K-4 SLBM, perhaps to replace the older Agni-II variant, which is now over 20 years old. Agni-II often called a 2000km range missile has demonstrated capabilities to hit targets at 3000km away with a lighter payload and lack of canisterised configuration and older missile technology also makes this missile quite vulnerable and a 3000km range. K-4 adapted for canisterised configuration, is known for its capabilities to dodge Anti-Ballistic Missile systems will make K-4 an ideal replacement candidate for the Agni-II.
K-5 SLBM is supposed to be India’s first Multiple Independently targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) capable long-range missiles and it is expected a land-based variant will be taken up even if the range of this missile will be comparable to the existing Agni-V missiles. DRDO seems to have abandoned its previous plans to develop a MIRV capable Agni-V Mk2 and might instead develop a land-based K-5 SLBM that will have a range of 5500km,instead.
India’s longest ranged Submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) that has officially been granted permission is the development of the K-6 that will have a range of over 6000km that could further extend to 10000km with a lighter payload of 1 ton. It’s not clear if India will be going for the development of the land version of the K6,but K6 when ready will have range to strike any target in the world technically if it manages to remain undetected far from Indian shores.
DRDO recently test fired the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV), which is expected to lay the foundation for the development of a hypersonic cruise missile system. The present system indicates that India will be first going for the development of the hypersonic cruise missile, instead of the hypersonic glide missile, but DRDO chief Dr. G Satheesh Reddy did indicate that development of the hypersonic glide missile will also be taken up soon. India entering the Hypersonic arena at the right time will ensure that it is not playing catch up to the big powers in the world, but it does need to fast track this program with better funding. India’s land-based Nuclear tipped missile will continue to evolve with better missile systems that can not only beat Anti-Ballistic Missile systems but also has a hybrid flight trajectory with further scope for MIRV capabilities. It might be the end of the Agni series for the time being but it won’t be the end of India’s quest to have first-world technologies in its missiles.
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