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China Firmly In The Cross Hairs, Agni-V Missile’s 5,000-Km Range Bolsters India’s Offensive Power

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China Firmly In The Cross Hairs, Agni-V Missile’s 5,000-Km Range Bolsters India’s Offensive Power

The Agni-V project was aimed at enhancing India’s nuclear deterrence against China which has missiles like Dongfeng-41 having ranges between 12,000-15,000 km

In a major boost to India’s military capabilities, the defence ministry on Wednesday announced successful test-firing of surface-to-surface ballistic missile Agni-V whose range covers the Chinese mainland. The missile, which uses a three-stage solid-fuelled engine, is capable of striking targets at ranges up to 5,000 kilometres with a very high degree of accuracy, according to the defence ministry. The successful test of Agni-V is in line with India’s stated policy to have credible minimum deterrence’ that underpins the commitment to No First Use’, the statement said.

Agni-V is widely regarded as a strategic missile targeted at China as it can reach almost all parts of the Chinese mainland. People familiar with the development told PTI it was the first user trial of the missile which can bring the northernmost part of China under its striking range. India’s successful test-firing comes after China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August.

Why Is The Test Significant?

Agni-V is India’s first ICBM — normally regarded as having a range of more than 5,000 km — and has been under development for more than a decade. After its fifth test firing in January 2018, the Ministry of Defence had said that all the objectives for the test of the “long-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile… have been successfully met” and it “reaffirms the country’s indigenous missile capabilities and further strengthens our credible deterrence”.

However, although reports have said that the missile was to be inducted into the Armed forces after two more tests the same year — in June and December — making it seven successful tests in total, another test was lined up, which got delayed, however, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The tests scheduled for September-end, was according to reports described as its “first user trials” was reported to assess the ability of the missile to carry multiple warheads, known in defence jargon as multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRV).

However, a report in Times Of India said that while India is working on MIRVs, the first tests of the technology won’t be held before two years. Reports say that a test on June 28 this year of the Agni-P (for Prime), “a new generation advanced variant of Agni class of missiles” also involved a trial of MIRV capabilities, although it’s been suggested that that test had used “decoys” instead.

The successful test firing of the missile paves way for its induction into the Strategic Forces Command that takes care of India’s strategic assets, officials told PTI.

The Agni-V project was aimed at enhancing India’s nuclear deterrence against China which has missiles like Dongfeng-41 having ranges between 12,000-15,000 km.

What Is MIRV?

MIRV capability allows a missile “to deliver multiple nuclear warheads to different targets” and was first developed by the US in the 1960s.

“In contrast to a traditional missile, which carries one warhead, MIRVs can carry multiple warheads,” says the US-based Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation (CACNP).

The warheads on such missiles can be released “at different speeds and in different directions” with some known to be capable of hitting targets “as far as 1,500km apart”, CACNP says, adding that “although MIRVs were not initially intended to defeat ballistic missile defences, they are much more difficult to defend against than traditional missiles”.

CACNP says that “the development of MIRV technology is not easy” as it involves a “combination of large missiles, small warheads, accurate guidance, and a complex mechanism for releasing warheads sequentially during flight”.

In the neighbourhood, both China and Pakistan are said to possess MIRV-capable missiles.

What Is A Ballistic Missile?

According to the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), India has the “capacity to deploy short-, medium-, and long-range ballistic missiles”. It says that the country “views its nuclear weapons and long-range power projection programmes as the key to maintaining strategic stability in the Asia-Pacific region”.

Ballistic missiles fly into outer space before returning on steep trajectories at higher speeds. Hypersonic weapons are difficult to defend against because they fly towards targets at lower altitudes but can achieve more than five times the speed of sound – or about 6,200 km per hour (3,850 mph).

It lists the Prithvi-II, Agni-I, Agni-II, Agni-III, and Agni-IV as “India’s fully operational land-based ballistic missiles”, noting that the country also has submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

Arms Control Association, another US-based organisation, says that ballistic missiles are “powered by rockets initially but then they follow an unpowered, free-falling trajectory towards their targets”. It notes that as of December 2017, there were 31 countries that had such missiles with only nine among them known or suspected to possess nuclear capabilities — China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, UK, US.

Why Is China Fuming?

China habitually uses its position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to condemn missile tests by India. After reports emerged of plans for another test of the Agni-V, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a press briefing that “maintaining peace, security and stability in South Asia meets the common interests of all, where China hopes that all parities would make constructive efforts”.

Touching specifically upon the topic of another missile test, he referred to the UNSC Resolution 1172 of 1998 — passed in the wake of nuclear tests held by India and Pakistan — which asks the two countries “immediately to stop their nuclear-weapon development programmes, to cease development of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons and any further production of fissile material for nuclear weapons”.

Zhou said that “as for whether India can develop ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, the UNSCR 1172 already has clear stipulations”.

China hitting out against Indian weapons development is nothing new and it would have noted that with a range of 5,000-plus kilometres, Agni-V brings most of the Chinese mainland under its range, enhancing its strategic deterrence vis-à-vis Beijing.

The news of the test came after the US and UK announced the formation of a new strategic defence triad with Australia, called AUKUS, in the Indo-Pacific, promising the island nation nuclear submarines to patrol the waters where China has long tried to aggressively push its territorial claims.

Australia, along with Japan, India and the US has also revived the Quad grouping which, though not a military alliance, is seen as being geared towards containing China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

India’s test-firing of the missile comes months after the Chinese military tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August. China launched a rocket carrying a hypersonic glide vehicle that flew through low-orbit space, circling the globe before cruising towards its target, which it missed by about two dozen miles.

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INS Arihant’s Nuke-Capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ‘Ready To Roll’

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INS Arihant’s Nuke-Capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ‘Ready To Roll’


NEW DELHI: India tested its nuclear capable K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), designed to have a strike range of 3,500 km, for the second time in six days on Friday. The missile test, as the one conducted on January 19, was undertaken from an undersea platform in the shape of a submersible pontoon off the coast of Andhra Pradesh according to a report by Rajat Pandit of TOI.

The solid-fuelled K-4 missile is being developed by DRDO to arm the country’s nuclear-powered submarines in the shape of INS Arihant and its under-development sister vessels. INS Arihant, which became fully operational in November 2018 to complete India’s nuclear triad, is currently armed with the much shorter K-15 missiles with a 750 km range.

“The K-4 is now virtually ready for its serial production to kick-off. The two tests have demonstrated its capability to emerge straight from underwater and undertake its parabolic trajectory,” said a source.

India has the land-based Agni missiles, with the over 5,000-km Agni-V inter-continental ballistic missile now in the process of being inducted, and fighter jets jury-rigged to deliver nuclear weapons. But INS Arihant gives the country’s deterrence posture much more credibility because nuclear-powered submarines armed with nuclear-tipped missiles are considered the most secure, survivable and potent platforms for retaliatory strikes.

Once the K-4 missiles are inducted, they will help India narrow the gap with countries like the US, Russia and China, which have over 5,000-km range SLBMs. The K-4 missiles are to be followed by the K-5 and K-6 missiles in the 5,000-6,000 km range class.

The 6,000-ton INS Arihant, which is propelled by an 83 MW pressurised light-water reactor at its core, in turn, is to be followed by INS Arighat, which was launched in 2017. The next generation of nuclear submarines, currently called S-4 and S-4*, will be much larger in size.





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After Upgradation, Sukhoi Su-30MKI Indigenisation To Reach 78%

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After Upgradation, Sukhoi Su-30MKI Indigenisation To Reach 78%


India has received clearance to upgrade 84 Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets, which will result in 78% indigenization after the upgrade

In a significant step towards bolstering its military might with indigenously developed technology, India is poised to witness its Russian-origin Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets evolve into a domestic platform. Speaking at a recent lecture.

The upgrade program is being led by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in partnership with the Indian Air Force and other partners. The upgrade is expected to cost US$7.5 billion.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the upgrade. The upgrade is part of India’s efforts to improve the capabilities of its primary fighter aircraft, it refers to as the “Super Sukhoi”.

This initiative is a part of a larger effort by the Indian Air Force to modernize its ageing fleet. Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari asserted the critical role of an offensive air force as demonstrated in current global conflicts and emphasized India’s move towards an indigenized arsenal. To this end, the IAF has been proactive, from upgrading its Mirage 2000 to enhancing its MiG-29 fleet.

In summary, the IAF’s commitment to updating their combat forces with the latest technology, including shifting to fifth-generation fighter jets, ensures operational preparedness and a strong deterrence capability. The gradual indigenization of its air fleet marks a pivotal shift in India’s defence landscape, reducing dependency on foreign imports and fostering technological sovereignty.





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Akash Weapon System Exports For The Armenian Armed Forces Gathers Pace

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Akash Weapon System Exports For The Armenian Armed Forces Gathers Pace


According to unconfirmed reports, Armenia is a top contender for an export order for Akash SAM system manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

While there is no official confirmation because of the sensitivities involved, documents suggest that the order for the same has already been placed the report further added.
There are nine countries, in turn, which have shown interest in the indigenously-developed Akash missile systems, which can intercept hostile aircraft, helicopters, drones and subsonic cruise missiles at a range of 25-km. They are Kenya, Philippines, Indonesia, UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Vietnam and Algeria reported TOI.

The Akash export version will also be slightly different from the one inducted by the armed forces. The 100-km range air-to-air Astra missiles, now entering production after successful trials from Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, also have “good export potential”, said sources.

Akash is a “tried, tested and successfully inducted systems”. Indian armed forces have ordered Akash systems worth Rs 24,000 crore over the years, and MoD inked a contract in Mar 2023 of over Rs 9,100 crores for improved Akash Weapon System

BDL is a government enterprise under the Ministry of Defence that was established in 1970. BDL manufactures surface-to-air missiles and delivers them to the Indian Army. BDL also offers its products for export.

Akash Weapon System

The AWS is a Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM) Air Defence System, indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). In order to meet aerial threats, two additional Regiments of AWS with Upgradation are being procured for Indian Army for the Northern borders. Improved AWS has Seeker Technology, Reduced Foot Print, 360° Engagement Capability and improved environmental parameters.

The project will give a boost to the Indian missile manufacturing industry in particular and the indigenous defence manufacturing ecosystem as a whole. The project has overall indigenous content of 82% which will be increased to 93% by 2026-27.

The induction of the improved AWS into the Indian Army will increase India’s self-reliance in Short Range Missile capability. This project will play a role in boosting the overall economy by avoiding outgo of precious foreign exchange to other countries, increasing employment avenues in India and encouraging Indian MSMEs through components manufacturing. Around 60% of the project cost will be awarded to the private industry, including MSMEs, in maintaining the supply chain of the weapon system, thereby creating large scale of direct and indirect employment.





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