INDIA BEGINS WORK ON ICBM
By Bulbul Singh
24 Apr 12. Indian scientists have begun work on developing another nuclear-capable missile with a range of 10,000kms. Last week, India tested the Agni-V with a range of 5000kms. The new missile will be named Agni-VI and will qualify as an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).
India’s DRDO has begun work on developing the 10,000kms range Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Agni-VI, confirmed sources.
“While the basic technology of Agni-VI will be similar to that of the Agni-V missile, which has a range of over 5000kms, Agni-VI will have guidance systems from overseas,” said sources, even as DRDO scientists claim they have the ability to develop their own guidance systems.
DRDO and Rafael are already collaborating in developing a variety of guidance systems. DRDO has already developed a radio frequency-based Seeker Head. So far, only the test flight of the new Seeker Head has been carried out and development of the new frequency wave-seeker head is being carried out with the help of the Israelis. Earlier, DRDO with the help of the Israelis, had developed the Seeker Head based on InfraRed technology.
In February this year, DRDO announced the setting up of an advanced Navigation & Embedded Computers Complex set up at Hyderabad which will develop advanced guidance systems for a variety of missiles.
Guidance systems and other navigation systems are the key to the success of the development of an ICBM.
“Currently India does not have the capability to develop these systems.” said a DRDO scientist.
However, sources say, India is developing the advanced guidance systems which will be used by Agni-V, Agni-VI and even the Land Attack and Cruise missiles with the help of the Israelis. The Russians are involved in the joint-development of the supersonic cruise missile, BrahMos, but have not offered India the advanced systems for use by Long Range Missiles, especially the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. China has already mounted dozens of long range missiles, including ICBMs on India’s northern border in Tibet. Besides, India is also under threat of a nuclear missile from Pakistan which tested its 3000kms range Shaheen-IA, April 24 within a week of India’s testing the 5000kms range Agni-V.
While India is developing its own anti-missile missile defence systems, it is strengthening its ballistic missile capabilities in consonance with its demands as a regional power. India has economic and security interests in the Indian Ocean rim countries, and has recently undertaken joint exploration of oil in the South China Sea in a tie up with Vietnam. This proactive step of India has not been gone well with Beijing and the threat from its northern neighbour has increased say analysts.
While Agni-V can cover most of China, and parts of Europe under its range, if fired from the northern tip of India, Agni-VI will impart a definitive deterrence value and also establish India’s identity as a true world power, which it aims to achieve in the next two decades, given the rate of growth of its economy.
Indian scientists are also developing capability to mount more than six warheads, including nuclear warheads on Agni-VI.
Another major difference between Agni-V and Agni-VI will be that the latter would be stationary compared to the mobile Agni-V missile, thus giving it the ability to be ‘ready for operation’ at all given times.