Hyderabad: India's chief missiles and strategic systems scientist, Dr VK Saraswat, said Friday that though India was not in the race to make ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles), the ''building blocks'' to design and develop such missiles was in place.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a two-day national conference on 'Advances in Sensors for Aerospace Applications-SENSORS-2007' at Research Centre Imarat (RCI) here, Dr Saraswat, who is also the chief controller, Defence Research and Development Organisation (missiles and strategic systems), said that though long-range missiles would be developed according to the country's requirement and priorities, the capabilities to develop and build such systems was in place.
In response to a question he said that current threat perceptions did not require building an ICBM on a priority basis.
About the Agni IV he said that the missile was in the design stage, and that ''in terms of the performance envelop'' it would be a better missile than the Agni III. He, however, declined to mention the time frame for the first flight trial.
Like the defence advisor to the ministry of defence, M Natarajan, he also mentioned that two further flight tests were on the cards in the coming months for the Agni III.
According to Avinash Chander, director, Advanced Systems Laboratory, who is also programme director for the Agni missiles, DRDO possessed the technology and capability for building the Agni IV. In this regard he pointed out that the Agni III had been developed with a lot of potential for upgrades.
''The potential having been tested, it is a simple switchover from Agni III to higher capability,'' he said.
He also mentioned that turnaround cycles for such systems had now come down to three years because of in-house technology as well as increased interactions with the private sector.
Earlier on, Dr Saraswat, Avinash Chander, KVSS Prasada Rao, chairman of National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), and SK Ray, director, RCI, urged the government to evolve a policy for investments in facilities for developing hi-tech sensors for strategic sectors.
They pointed out that the country was lagging behind in sensor technology and a lot more research needed to be done as far as front-end areas were concerned.