New Delhi, Sept. 16: India’s defence research chief has said Sunday’s test-firing of the Agni V missile has given the country transcontinental capability to deliver nuclear warheads.
“I have no hesitation in saying that we have ICBM (inter-continental ballistic missile) capability,” Avinash Chander, chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and scientific adviser to the defence minister, said at a briefing here today.
The Agni V was tested over its full range of 5,500km along a pre-set trajectory. The missile was launched from Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast. This was the second test launch of the missile — the first was in April 2012 — and demonstrated “repeatability” and the ability to travel longer distances.
“Range is not a problem. We can even go up to 10,000km,” said Chander who himself headed the DRDO’s missile programme before taking over as the outfit’s head. “Our main focus now is to develop warheads,” he said.
The Agni V would be tested four more times before being inducted into the armed forces in two years. One or more of these tests would be with multiple warheads.
The DRDO is also working on a multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) that could engage separate targets from a single missile.