NEW DELHI — India on Wednesday conducted the first user trial of its fully indigenous nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile, covering a range of about 5,000 kilometers and representing a second-strike capability against China.
The nighttime user trial of the Agni-5 ICBM was conducted by India’s Strategic Forces Command, which is responsible for managing nuclear and strategic weapons from the APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha.
The successful test is in line with India’s policy to have “credible minimum deterrence” that underpins its no-first-use policy, the Defence Ministry said.
Agni-5 is indigenously designed and developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation, which previously conducted seven successful prototype development tests from 2012 to 2018.
Without sharing specific details, one DRDO scientist said the missile can accurately hit its designated target in 15 minutes.
With this test, India has shown its weapons can cover the entire spectrum of Chinese territory, including the northern reaches, said defense analyst and retired Army Gen. Rahul Bhonsle.
The ministry said the Agni-5 uses a three-stage solid-fuel engine that is capable of striking targets at ranges up to 5,000 kilometers with a very high degree of accuracy. It is equipped with a locally made Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System-guided Ring laser gyroscope inertial navigation system, and is capable of carrying a 1.5-ton nuclear payload.
The 17.5-meter-long weapons weighs 50 tons and is launched from a canisterized system mounted on a road-mobile platform, and can be deployed at any remote corner of the country, the DRDO scientist said.
Vivek Raghuvanshi is the India correspondent for Defense News.