India today test fired its indigenously developed intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-V, which can reach targets as far as Beijing. The 17-meter long, two-meter wide, three-stage, solid-fuelled missile can carry a payload of 1.5 tonnes and weighs around 50 tonnes.
The firing took place from the Abdul Kalam Island facility off the Odisha coast. A Defence Ministry official said the pre-induction test of the highly sophisticated and world class game-changer missile was successful.
Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Agni-V is the most advanced version of the Agni series, part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme that started in the 1960s.
The missile was earlier tested successfully in 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016. It has a range of 5,000 km and can reach the northern most parts of China. Agni-V can carry a nuclear or traditional warhead of about 1.5 tonnes. With Agni-V, India has joined Russia, France, China, the US, and the UK — countries that boast having ICBM capabilities.
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said,
We have successfully launched nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-V today.
On December 26, 2016, Agni-V was tested and described as the fourth and final experimental test of the three-stage missile, says a Times Of India report. The tri-Service SFC, established in 2003 to manage India's nuclear arsenal, will have to conduct a few more user-trials before the 50-tonne missile is produced in adequate numbers for induction.
In April 2012, the 17 meter long Agni-V was tested in an "open configuration" and September 2013, the third and fourth tests in January 2015 and December 2016 saw it being fired from a hermetically sealed canister mounted on a Tatra launcher truck.