February 1, 2012


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Country:  India
Class:  ICBM
Basing:  unknown
Length:  unknown m
Diameter:  unknown m
Launch Weight:  unknown kg
Payload:  unknown
Warhead:  unknown
Propulsion:  unknown
Range:  5000-6000 km
Status:  Development


Many sources suggest that India is in the process of developing an ICBM and has been since 2006. The Janes' Strategic Weapon Systems Guide issued in January 2009 refers to this missile as Agni 4, noting that it is sometimes falsely designated Agni 3A.1 Other sources refer to an Agni 3+ or an Agni 5.2 The conflicting accounts of this project hint at a considerable amount of misinformation which will presumably be cleared up when Indian authorities launch their first ICBM test missile.


According to one source, the ICBM will be based upon the Agni 3, but will be constructed of lighter-weight materials in order to increase the maximum range.3

According to Jane's, the ICBM will be based upon the Agni 3, but will implement a third-stage motor to increase missile range to 5000-6000km. The guide also suggests that the new missile will implement MIRV technology with decoys and maneuvering RV to navigate past tactical defense systems. At the time of printing (January 2009), it was thought that testing on this ICBM would begin in 2009 or 2010 with a target completion date in 2015.4

-updated 19 July 2010
     1. Jane's Strategic Weapons Systems, Issue 50, ed. Duncan Lennox, (Surrey, UK: Jane's Information Group, January 2009) 54.
     2. Christian Caryl, “Don't Even Think About It: The Cold War was scary enough. Now try to imagine a nuclear arms race between China and India,” Foreign Policy, 13 July 2010, available at http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/07/13/dont_even_think_about_it, accessed on 19 July 2010; “India to test Agni III+ ballistic missile in 2009,” The Hindu, 7 January 2008, available at http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/000200801071324.htm, accessed on 19 July 2010;
     3. Ajai Shukla, “Agni missile to get multiple warheads,” 28 January 2008, available at http://ajaishukla.blogspot.com/2008/01/agni-missile-to-get-multiple-warheads.html, accessed on 19 July 2010.

     4. Jane’s, 54.


India Puts Agni III Into Service

August 11, 2010 :: The Times of India :: News

India's Defense Minister, Arackaparambil Kurian Antony, has announced that India's military will soon put the Agni III—a ballistic missile with a reported range of 3,000 km—into service. The Agni III is a two-stage missile that some experts believe could have a range of up to 5,000 or 6,000 km with smaller payloads and improved motors. A range of 4,500 km would be needed to reach rival China.


Design for the Agni IV, basically an Agni III with a third stage, is believed to have commenced in 2006. The Agni IV, with a planned range of 5,000-6,000 km, would be India's first truly Intercontinental ballistic missile. India's indigenous offensive ballistic missile program has had some significant setbacks in recent years, especially when compared to their much more successful BMD program. (Article, Link) 

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