NEW DELHI: The launch of ‘Agni-V’ missile yesterday proves beyond doubt that India has the capability and competence to develop a long-range missile, DRDO chief VK Saraswat said today.
Talking to the media, he said the DRDO would conduct two or more validation tests over the next 18 months, after which it would be ready for production and handing them to the armed forces for training and user trials.
Emphasising that Agni V, with a range of over 5,000 km, was sufficient to cater to the country’s strategic requirement in the wake of the threat perception, Saraswat clarified that there was no proposal to cap the programme. The Agni missile programme would continue and be honed further.
He, however, was not keen to enter into a debate on whether Agni V could be characterised as an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile that starts with a range of 5,500 km.
While yesterday’s test carried a single dummy warhead, the DRDO has started work on the Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV), known as a collection of nuclear weapons, but has not decided when to fit it on the missile. One major benefit of Agni V is that the booster technology would give the country the ability to launch satellites on demand that might be required in war theatre situations when existing satellites are affected requiring rapid deployment of mini or micro satellites in low-orbit for navigation and communication purposes.