India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), since 2015 has been working to make a lighter and more agile Agni-5 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that internally was referred to as ” MkII’. DRDO had started to plan to reduce the weight of the 50-tonne Agni-5, for which it has been working on replacing its older, heavier subsystems such as hydraulic to electro-mechanical actuators in favor of lighter, more reliable ones, many of which were managed by replacing maraging steel with lightweight composite materials.

Recent Media reports confirm that Agni-V has received a 20% weight reduction which means Agni-5 MkII now has a lunch mass of 40000kg with 1100kg nuclear payload that can deliver a warhead to a target that is 7000km. Agni-VI which was supposed to be the successor of the Agni-V with a range of 6000km with a similar payload is now negated with the development of the MkII.

Agni-5 MkII which is an improved variant of the Agni-5 will allow New Delhi to beat the heat that it had received when it started developmental tests of the missile that can threaten many countries not only in Asia-Pacific but also in Europe.

MkII with a range of 7000km can easily hit targets as far as 8000-9000km with a lighter payload and in a way negates the need for the Agni-V that allowed India to expand its sphere of nuclear strike capabilities without getting backlash that might have been unleashed if India had developed Agni-VI instead of Agni-5 MkII.

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