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Agni VI on course, trial likely by mid-2014
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, February 8
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) today announced the next version of Agni missile, Agni VI. The new version will be capable of carrying multiple warheads besides having a longer range.

Agni VI is likely to propel India into the club of countries having inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The missile, having a strike range of 8,000-10,000 km, will also have the facility of a road launcher. China already has this technology and its ICBM, Dong Feng (DF) 31-A, can be launched at a short notice and moved around for the launch on a truck-based system. US, Russia and France have ICBMs.

Speaking at Aero India show here today, DRDO chief VK Saraswat said, “India is developing Agni VI missile capable of carrying multiple warheads.” The DRDO would soon begin development trials of the new missile, sources said. A government approval is, however, still pending.

While Agni-V can carry up to three nuclear warheads, the number could be double or more than that in case of Agni VI. It is likely to be a three-stage missile. Since it will travel a long distance, it will need a bigger booster to propel it outside the atmosphere before it descends to strike a target. It is expected to weigh about 55 tonnes.

In case everything goes as per plans, the trial may come in mid-2014. The DRDO has already made it known that it was working on an independently targetable multiple re-entry vehicle. In April last year, the agency had a major success with Agni-V, a 5,500-km range missile.

Seeking to play down Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne’s unhappiness over delays in defence development projects, Saraswat said it was a mere “perception of users”. “Honestly there are some gaps that have been persisting for the past 25 to 30 years. This makes you feel that somebody is complaining about the delay in development projects and it is considered DRDO bashing. I don’t consider it DRDO bashing. It is a statement of perception of users,” Saraswat said.

The IAF Chief had recently expressed unhappiness over the delays in development projects and also suggested imposition of “financial penalties in case of poor performance of the work centre, either by withholding further payments or recovery of money already spent”. It is a fact of life that development process will take time, he said.

Longer range, multiple warheads

  • Agni VI will have a strike range of 8,000-10,000 km and will be capable of carrying multiple warheads
  • It is likely to be a three-stage missile weighing around 55 tonne
  • It is likely to propel India into the club of countries having inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)





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