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India to test new Agni missile by Dec 2010
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, February 13
The chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) M. Natarajan today announced that India would test a new version of the Agni series of missiles.

This would be an intermediate range missile that could traverse about 5,500 km. This would be called the Agni-V and would be tested by end of 2010, Natarajan told reporters at the Aero India show here this morning.

Detailing the DRDO plans he said it could develop a medium range combat fighter to follow the light combat aircraft fighter.

On missiles India lags behind China that has in its possession a large number of Inter-continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) capable of reaching targets beyond 10,000 km. In sharp contrast, the most powerful ballistic missile in India’s possession is the Agni-III, designed to reach a target at a distance of 3,000 km, this was successfully fired last May and is ready for induction. It may be mentioned here that the Union government has sanctioned Rs 2,500 crore for developing the country’s most ambitious missile, a nuclear-capable Agni-V. This is just a step short of an ICBM.

The government has not considered an 8,000-km range ICBM. Agni-V is likely to have solid propellants.

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