What’s in the news?
- Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully flight-tested the new generation ballistic Missile ‘Agni Prime’ from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha.
- During the flight test, all objectives were successfully demonstrated.
- Ballistic missiles are powered by rockets initially but then they follow an unpowered, free-falling trajectory toward their targets. Ballistic missiles can carry conventional high explosives as well as chemical, biological, or nuclear munitions. They can be launched from aircraft, ships, and submarines in addition to land-based silos and mobile platforms.
- On the other hand, Cruise missiles are unmanned vehicles that are propelled by jet engines, much like an airplane. They can be launched from ground, air, or sea platforms. Cruise missiles remain within the atmosphere for the duration of their flight and can fly as low as a few meters off the ground.
What makes Agni-P different?
- Agni-P is a new generation advanced variant of the Agni class of missiles. It is a canisterised missile with range capability between 1,000 and 2,000 km.
- The process of canisterisation means the warhead will be mated with the missile for storage, not stored separately and mounted on the missile shortly before launch. Canisterisation of missiles reduces the time required to launch the missile while improving its storage and mobility.
- Agni-P has improved parameters including manoeuvring and accuracy.
Agni Class of Missiles
- Agni class of missiles are the mainstay of India’s nuclear launch capability which also includes the Prithvi short range ballistic missiles, submarine launched ballistic missiles and fighter aircraft.
- The longest of the Agni series, Agni-V, an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a range of over 5,000 km, has already been tested several times and validated for induction.
- An ICBM is a missile with a minimum range of 5,500 kilometres primarily designed for nuclear weapons delivery.
- In the last few years, India has also operationalized its submarine-based nuclear launch capability, completing the nuclear triad.
- Nuclear triad is a three-sided military-force structure consisting of land-launched nuclear missiles, nuclear-missile-armed submarines, and strategic aircraft with nuclear bombs and missiles.
- This is especially important given India’s No-First-Use policy i.e. India will use the weapon only in retaliation to a nuclear attack on Indian territory or against Indian forces anywhere.
IGMDP (Integrated Guided Missile Development Program)
- It was conceived by Former President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to enable India attain self-sufficiency in the field of missile technology.
- The 5 missiles developed under this program are:
- Agni: Ballistic missiles with different ranges, i.e. Agni (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
- Akash: Medium range surface to air missile
- Prithvi: Short range surface to surface ballistic missile
- Trishul: Short range low level surface to air missile
- Nag: 3rd generation anti-tank missile.