India to Test “China Killer” Agni-V ICBM
Image Credit: Wikicommons

India to Test “China Killer” Agni-V ICBM


India will conduct a second test of its longest range, nuclear-capable ballistic missile sometime around September 15, according to local media outlets.

On Monday, the Chennai-based The Hindu cited an unnamed official at the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), India’s military technology agency, as saying that DRDO is currently preparing for the second test of the Agni-V missile at Wheeler Island. The official said the test would be conducted “around September 15,” presumably depending on how preparations go and weather conditions. The report went on to cite another Indian official as saying that two Indian naval ships were being positioned in the Indian Ocean near the target point of the test.

The Agni-V is a three-stage, solid-fueled missile that can travel 5,000 km while carrying a 1,000 km payload, making it India’s longest range missile. It is often referred to as India’s first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in local media. Although it demonstrates mastery of all the necessary technologies of ICBMs, technically it is only an intermediate ballistic missile as ICBMs have ranges of at least 5,500 km.  

India first tested the Agni-V in April 2012. The first test, which was also conducted at Wheeler Island, was successful and garnered a lot of excitement in India, both because of the scientific achievements involved in developing an ICBM-like missile, as well as because the Agni-V will allow India to deliver nuclear weapons to many of China’s major cities for the first time. In light of this, some in India have taken to calling the Agni-V the “China killer.”

Last month The Hindu reported Tessy Thomas, the director of the Agni Missile Project at DRDO, as saying there will be two or three more tests of the Agni-V before the missile is deemed operational in 2015. She also said that the Agni-V, like all of India’s missiles, is a “weapon of peace.”

Back in May, V.K. Saraswat, who at the time was DRDO’s Director-General, confirmed that his organization was modifying the Agni-V to enable it to carry Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs). As The Diplomat explained at the time:

“MIRVs enable ICBMs to carry multiple nuclear warheads on a single missile, and strike multiple targets or a single target with greater efficiency. After the last stage of the ICBM boosts off, a MIRVed ICBM will dispense the warheads to their separate or singular targets. Both the Soviet Union and the United States MIRVed their ICBM forces during the 1970s, which complicated arms control agreements moving forward.”

In her comments last month, Ms. Thomas implied that the modifications to allow India to MIRV its Agni-Vs had been completed successfully. This raises the possibility that the upcoming test would use a MIRVed Agni-V, although The Hindu report did not give any indication to suggest that this is the case.

February 12, 2014 at 16:08

wrong to use the term ‘china killer’ …it’s not aimed on a specific country.

9 dashes, 4 dishes, 1 soup & no smoking in public.
January 9, 2014 at 00:16

I have more confidence in India’s progress than I have in either the US or PRC.

I have zero confidence in India’s civilian government though.

December 19, 2013 at 22:14

Beijing should develop a nuclear tipped missile specially aim at India and call it “Inida Killer” and all its mass medias should use the same term when publicising such a news.

September 15, 2013 at 13:57

Dont bother Mao this is coming from this part of the world Remember theya re upset at sticking them in the eye with Edward Snowden and then having the guts to contradict invasion of Syria which is already unoffically offically invaded

Dr. H.S. Rathore
September 15, 2013 at 01:38

Top photo is not AGNI-5. The new demonstration is surely of AGNI-ICBM-MIRV.

September 13, 2013 at 17:42

‘China killer’ how can it be, when our border has been incursed by china and our govt sleep here dreaming about missile flying.

September 13, 2013 at 17:36

This missile test is just a show.

September 13, 2013 at 16:19

this kanes is an indo septic chinese collaborationist. 

September 13, 2013 at 13:54

No one from political, military or executive wing of Indian government has called Agni5 a `China killer` missile. As any neutral observer of world affairs would agree- Indian government is very sober by nature and its mentality, statements and actions are on much higher moral ground in compariwsion to 

to those of Chinese government's. Now, who has named it so provocatively? You see, Indo-China rivalry is a very interesting and important game for worldwide audience. Every Indian attempt to catch up with China militarily is keenly watched, positively analysed and sentimentally commented- by not only Indians but also by media and people of other countries. China catching up with America and India catching up with China will be an extremely setimental issue for the people of China and India. Colourful language will fly in the air very naturally. Even talking about killing is considered sin in India but one has to be alive

September 13, 2013 at 09:01

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the Agni VII, also widely known as the  "Mars Killer". Or maybe it's  "District of Columbia Killer".  The Agni is the best of its kind in the world.

September 13, 2013 at 07:51

Vietnam is India's Pakistan ……. India already has deep strategic relations with Vietnam ….
If China continues its games against India, India should transfer ready to use ballistic and cruise missiles to Vietnam, and also set up nuclear ( research ???) reactors in Vietnam ……

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