On the night of June 7, 2023, the “Agni-Prime Missile” was successfully tested by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on the APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha.
As per a Defence Ministry statement, “This was a pre-induction night launch conducted by the users after three successful developments of the missile, validating the accuracy and reliability of the system.
A number of Range Instrumentation, such as Radar, Telemetry and Electro-Optical systems, were deployed at different locations, including two down-range ships at the terminal point to capture flight data covering the entire trajectory of the missile.”
Witnessed by senior officers and scientists from the Strategic Forces Command and the DRDO, the test has paved the way for its induction into the country’s missile arsenal, the statement said, “During the flight test, all the objectives were successfully demonstrated.”
“First Pre-Induction night launch of the New Generations Ballistic missile Agni-Prime was successfully conducted off the coast of Odisha on June 7, 2023,” tweeted DRDO.
The Agni prime is a two-stage canisterised solid propellant ballistic missile with dual redundant navigation and guidance system, according to the DRDO. It has a range between 1000-2000km and was tested for the first time in June 2021. It is lighter than all the Agni Series of Missiles.
The Agni series of missiles constitute the backbone of India’s nuclear weapon delivery, including the Prithvi short-range Ballistic Missile and fighter aircraft. India has successfully completed its nuclear triad and operationalised its second-strike capability with the nuclear ballistic missile submarine INS Arihant undertaking deterrence patrols.
The Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the DRDO and the Armed Forces on the success and copy-book performance of the New Generation Ballistic Missile-Agni Prime.
This missile is fifty per cent less heavy than Agni-3 and Agni-4 Missiles. The two-stage missile has been developed with a new propulsion system and advanced navigation. Being a canister missile, it can be launched from rail and road platforms. The canisteration of missiles reduces the time required to launch while enhancing storage and mobility.
It also has a payload capability of up to 1.5 tonnes for carrying warheads and has a diameter of 1.2 meters and a height of 10.5 meters.
All the Agni Series of Missiles are part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) launched by the former president of India, APJ Abdul Kalam. The missile is also capable of performing high manoeuvres while homing on its targets.
Being an Indigenous missile, the test is a landmark achievement for India, especially the Atmanirbhar Bharat in Defence initiative launched by PM Narendra Modi on May 12, 2020. The missile test was carried out in June 2022. It emboldens the Make in India policy as well.
The last missile trial was conducted on December 18, 2022, from the same base, which was also successful, officials adding that all test objectives were met and said the third test of the ‘Agni Prime’ had ‘established the accuracy and reliability of the system.