General Studies IIISecurity

Agni Prime


DRDO is all set for the trails of their new missile ‘Agni Prime’ in the coming days. 

About Agni Prime:

  • The Agni missile is a family of medium to intercontinental range ballistic missiles developed by India, named after one of the five elements of nature. 
  • The ‘Agni Prime’ is the advanced version of the ‘Agni-1’ missile.

  • The ‘Agni Prime’ is a short-range ballistic missile that will have a range of 1000 km to 1500 km and will have advanced features in agility and road mobility.

  • It is a surface to a surface missile that can carry a payload of around 1,000 Kg or a nuclear warhead.

  • The double stage missile will be lighter and much sleeker than its predecessor ‘Agni-1’.

Other Agni missile:

  • Agni missiles are long range, nuclear weapons capable surface to surface ballistic missile.
  • The first missile of the series, Agni-I was developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) and tested in 1989.
  • After its success, Agni missile program was separated from the IGMDP upon realizing its strategic importance.
  • It was designated as a special program in India’s defence budget and provided adequate funds for subsequent development. As of November 2019, the missiles in the Agni series are being inducted into service. 
  • The family comprises the following:

Agni-IMRBM700–1,200 km (Operational)
Agni-IIMRBM2,000–3,500 km (Operational)
Agni-IIIIRBM3,000–5,000 km (Operational)
Agni-IVIRBM3,500–4,000  km (Operational)
Agni-VICBM5,000–8,000 km (Operational)
Agni-VIICBM11,000–12,000 km (Under development)

What is a Surface-to-Surface missile?

A surface-to-surface missile is a missile that is launched from the ground to strike land or sea targets. They may be fired from hand-held or vehicles, from a ship or ground installations. They are often powered by a rocket engine or sometimes fired by an explosive charge since the launching platform is typically stationary or moving slowly. They usually have fins and/or wings for lift and stability, although hyper-velocity or short-ranged missiles may use body lift or fly a ballistic trajectory.

The V-1 flying bomb was the first operational surface-to-surface missile, used by Nazi Germany during the closing stages of World War II to bomb European Cities. Although they lacked any strategic value, the Allied powers saw the potential in such a missile and began developing their own variants.

Some of India’s Surface-to-Surface missile

There are different surface to surface missiles developed by India.

  1. Prithvi series of missiles – Min Range 150 Km and Max range is around 500 Km.
  2. Agni series of missiles – Min Range 700 km and max range is around 5000 Km.
  3. Nirbhay – Subsonic Cruise missile with a range of 1000 km
  4. Brahmos – Jointly Developed with Russia. It is the fastest cruise missile in the world with a range of around 300 Km.
  5. Prahar – This is a missile with a range of 150 km.

Except for Brahmos, all the above missiles are developed indigenously by DRDO. Brahmos is developed by Brahmos Aerospace, a joint venture of DRDO and NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM) of Russia.

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