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Explained: Why Agni Prime will strike fear into India's enemies

The successful development of the Agni Prime P missile marks a significant milestone for India's defence industry, showcasing its ability to create advanced weapons systems domestically. India solidifies its position as a formidable player in the global security arena. Girish Linganna explains

Explained Why Agni Prime will strike fear into India's enemies
First Published Jun 8, 2023, 7:19 PM IST

On June 7, the defence ministry reported that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had conducted a successful flight test of the 'Agni Prime' New Generation Ballistic Missile. The missile was launched from the Dr A PJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha. The ministry stated that this was the first pre-induction night launch performed by users following three successful experimental trials of the missile.

Radar, Telemetry and Electro-Optical Tracking Systems were placed at distinct sites, involving two down-range ships at the terminal point, to collect flight data throughout the entire path of the rocket. The successful flight test, which has provided a path for the system to be inducted into the Armed Forces, was observed by high-ranking personnel from both DRDO and Strategic Forces Command, according to the statement.

The DRDO has produced the Agni Prime, also known as the Agni P, which is a medium-range ballistic missile to replace the Agni-I and Agni-II missiles. The 'Agni Prime' is a two-stage, encased, solid-fuel rocket that features a double redundant navigation and guidance system.

A two-stage canisterised missile, the 'Agni Prime' or 'Agni-P' is an upgraded version of the Agni class of missiles and is capable of carrying nuclear warheads. This missile has an impressive range of up to 2,000 km. Notably, it has a weight that is half of that of the Agni 3 missile and features novel guidance and propulsion systems. Moreover, since it is in a container, it can be fired from either rail or road, kept for longer durations and can be moved for operational purposes as needed.

The missile is outfitted with state-of-the-art components made up of composites, propulsion systems, and guidance as well as control systems that come with the latest navigation systems.

India's Lethal Agni Family

It is the sixth missile in the Agni series of ballistic missiles that has been developed. The Agni missile series consists of five different ranges: 

* Agni I is a Medium Range Ballistic Missile with a range of 700-800 km. 

* Agni II has a range of more than 2000 km 

* Agni III is an Inter-Medium Range Ballistic Missile with a range of over 2,500 km. 

* Agni IV has a range of more than 3,500 km and can be launched from a road-mobile launcher. 

* Agni-V is the longest range, an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a range of over 5,000 km. 

* Agni-VI, the longest of the Agni series, is an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a range of 11,000-12,000 km (Under development).

Special Features of Agni Prime P

Manoeuvrable re-entry vehicle (MaRV): The Agni Prime P is equipped with a MaRV that can fly in a complex path to evade enemy defences. This makes it very difficult for enemy air defences to shoot down the missile.

Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicle (MIRV): The Agni Prime P is also equipped with a MIRV that can carry multiple warheads, each of which can be targeted at a different location. This gives India the ability to strike multiple targets with a single missile.

Canisterized launch system: The Agni Prime P is launched from a canister, which protects the missile from the elements and makes it easier to transport and launch.

Solid-propellant: The Agni Prime P is powered by solid propellants, which makes it easier to launch and gives it a longer range than liquid-fueled missiles.

Advanced navigation and guidance system: The Agni Prime P is equipped with an advanced navigation and guidance system that makes it more accurate and difficult to intercept.

The Agni Prime P is a significant upgrade over previous generations of Agni missiles. It is more accurate, has a longer range, and is more difficult to defend against. The Agni Prime missile will give India a significant boost in its strategic deterrent capabilities. It will also be a valuable asset in conventional warfare, as it can be used to strike targets deep behind enemy lines.

The Agni Prime P is a major achievement for India's defence industry. It is a sign that India is capable of developing advanced weapons systems indigenously. The missile will help to deter aggression from India's neighbours and will make India a more powerful player in the global security landscape.

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