Continuing its fast-moving missile programme, India is developing a long-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile in the 'Agni' series – Agni VI - that can carry multiple warheads, enabling it to take out several targets at a time.
''Agni V is major strategic defence weapon. Now we want to make Agni VI which would be a force multiplier,'' Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chairman V K Saraswat said today in Bangalore on the sidelines of the Aero India 2013 expo.
He said the force multiplier capability of the missile would be because of its multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) capability; but refused to divulge the projected range of the new missile.
The Agni V ballistic missile, which was tested in April last year, has a range of up to 5,500 km; and it is probable that Agni VI would have a longer range.
''It will have force multiplier capability by the MIRV approach which would enable us to deliver many payloads at the same time using only one missile.
''Work is on in this area and designs have been completed. We are now in the hardware realisation phase,'' he said.
Officials at the DRDO said once Agni VI is developed, it would propel India into the elite club of nations with such capability, including the US and Russia.
The DRDO chief said his organisation was also working towards developing a cruise missile defence programme which would enable the armed forces to defend against low-flying cruise missiles and enemy aircraft.