New Delhi: India has announced the launch of two major missile programmes - an extended version of the intermediate range ballistic missile, Agni III, successfully tested early on this year, and a Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM). The SLBM, also variously referred to as the Sagarika, completes the nuclear triad with the country now having developed systems that allow it to launch nuclear weapons from the land, sea and air.
The Agni III, successfully launched early this year, had a purported range of 3,500 kms plus. The new missile, with an added stage, could deploy to ranges in excess of 5,000 kms and would be ready for induction in two to three years.
This extended range Agni with its improved telemetry and electronics package will make the missile more compact, which would also allow the missile to accommodate another motor, fueled by solid propellants.
According to DRDO chief and scientific advisor to the defence minister, M Natarajan, scientists working on the project have figured out a way of adding a third stage to the missile that will push up its range to 5000 km.
"It looks possible to extend the range in the same model. We may be able to fit in another phase to extend it by another 1,500 km," Natarajan said.
The Agni III missile is likely to be ready for induction into the country's tri-services strategic command by 2010.
As for the SLBM, DRDO chief and scientific advisor to the defence minister, M Natarajan, expressed confidence about its capabilities and described it as a "special purpose missile" for the Indian Navy.
" It's a strategic missile, so I can't talk much about it. But yes, definitely we have done a lot of work in the propulsion system of such a missile, control and containerisation of these missiles, and I think these elemental technologies are very vital. I am sure that at an appropriate point of time the country will reveal it. The missile can be got ready in 2-3 years, but it is the technologies we are more focused on," he told television news channel Times Now.
The missile will very likely be deployed on the indigenously designed nuclear submarine, also referred to as the Advanced Technology Vehicle. This project is yet to be publicly unveiled.