New Delhi, Jan. 11: The Defence Research and Development Organisation will test the Agni III missile this year, the scientific advisor to the defence minister, V.K. Aatre, told delegates at the NRI meet here today.
The Agni III is one of the projects under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme and its development has been somewhat tardy. Experts say the Agni III will give India’s missile programme “strategic depth” because it is a long-range missile with a range of 3,000-4,000 km.
The testing of the Agni III will no doubt be watched with some consternation by the international community because it can bring within its range not only possible targets in Pakistan but also in China.
Aatre said the Agni I short-range variant (700-800 km) that was test-fired earlier this week was not ready to be inducted into the armed forces.
He said the shop-borne variant of the BrahMos anti-ship cruise missile will be tested later this month.
The BrahMos has a range of a little less than 300 km. It carries a conventional warhead.
Aatre said India had the potential to develop inter-continental ballistic missiles with ranges from 3,500 to 14,000 km. “Missiles with ranges between 3,500 and 14,000 km do not involve much of a change. We have the technology to do it,” he said, but doubted if such weapons were needed.