India successfully test fires Agni-V, joins top missile club

Agni V

India today took a major leap in its strategic capability by successfully test firing its nuclear capable, 5000 km-range Agni-V missile, bringing China under its cover and achieving the capacity of building Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles.

With this, India joined an elite missile club of the US, Russia, France and China, which produce Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs).

The surface-to-surface Agni-V is capable of striking a target more than 5,000 km away. It is about 17-metres-long and two-metres-wide with launch weight of around 50 tonnes. The sophisticated missile can carry a nuclear warhead of more than one tonne.

This is the first time India has produced a missile that has brought China within its range and it is being considered a big deterrent capability.

"We had a successful launch of Agni-V. The missile lifted off at 8.07 hours today," Defence Research and Development Organisation chief V K Saraswat said after the three-stage solid propellant missile was test fired from launch complex-4 of Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast.

Agni-V had a smooth and perfect vertical lift-off from the launcher and a thorough analysis was done to assess its health parameters after retrieval of data from the wide range of sophisticated communication network systems, Saraswat said.

"The sleek missile, within a few seconds of its blast-off from the Island launch pad roared majestically into the sky leaving behind its a trajectory a trail of thin orange and white smoke before disappearing," a defence official said.

ITR Director S P Dass said, "It was a perfect launch and the missile hit the pre-determined target and the mission met all its parameters.

"We can call it an ICBM as it has the capability to travel from one continent to another," Dass said.

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