Can show anti-satellite capability if govt gives nod: DRDO chief

FP

With the successful test launch of the Agni V missile on Thursday, India has demonstrated that it now has the capability and technology to launch anti-satellite weapons but the government has not yet given a go-ahead to develop such systems, DRDO chief V K Saraswat has said.

A day after the test-firing, the top scientist has said the Agni V will be tested two more times over the next year and a half and would be ready for handing over to the strategic forces within two years. "It will be handed over to the armed forces after two more trials. A maximum of two years is required to operationalise the missile," Saraswat said.

While the top scientist said India is not interested in weaponising space and is a 'peace loving nation', he asserted that the Agni V launch is the last piece of technology that had to be demonstrated to prove that India has anti-satellite capabilities — a technology that was demonstrated by China in 2007.

"An anti-satellite system requires a good boost capability. Something like 800 km (into space). If you can reach that and have the guiding capabilities it can be done. The Agni V has demonstrated the boost capability," Saraswat said, adding that a kill vehicle could be attached to the missile to target a satellite.

He elaborated that India has already demonstrated that it has the guidance capability required through its series of anti ballistic missile tests that have been carried out over the past few years.

The scientist, however, made it clear that the government has not sanctioned the development of an anti-satellite system. On the development stage of a submarine launched ballistic missile, Sarswat said it is in an advanced stage, adding that the Arihant nuclear submarine would not be inducted without such a weapon on board. As reported earlier, the Navy is planning to induct the submarine by next year.

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