DEFENCE TECH UPSC SHORT NOTES: Missile Systems of India
Indian missiles are placing India proudly into an elite league of defence forces having such technologies. Although India’s defence policy was promoting the world peace, it decided to be ready against any type of aggression. For this reason, India had to become self- reliant in modern war technology such as missiles. Thus, the Defence Ministry of India constituted Integrated Guided Missile Development programme (IGMDP) in 1983.
The main aim of this programme was to develop comprehensive missiles in between 1983 and 2007, thereby adding great weight to the Indian Defence capabilities. DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization) started working with many other research centres to build strong Indian missiles technology.
Finally, it became successful in developing, designing and operationalizing five different categories of missile systems. They are as follows:
- SHORT-RANGE SURFACE TO SURFACE MISSILE- PRITHVI
- INTERMEDIATE-RANGE SURFACE TO SURFACE MISSILE- AGNI
- SHORT-RANGE SURFACE TO AIR MISSILE- TRISHUL
- MEDIUM-RANGE SURFACE TO AIR MISSILE- AKASH
- THIRD-GENERATION ANTI-TANK GUIDED MISSILE-NAG
PRITHVI MISSILE SYSTEM:
Among all Indian missiles, PRITHVI (means earth) was the India’s first indigenously developed ballistic missile. It is a short range surface to surface ballistic missile which was successfully test-fired in 1988 from Sriharikota Rocket launching centre. Its range is between 150 km to 300 km. The different variants in PRITHVI are as follows:
PRITHVI I, with a range of 150 km and payload capability of 1000 kg , was inducted into the Indian Army in 1994.
PRITHVI II, with a range of 250 km and payload capability of 300 kg, was test fired in 1996 and inducted into Indian Army in 2004.
PRITHVI III, with a range of 350 km and payload capability of 1000 kg, was test fired in 2004.
SAGARIKA, a sub-marine variant of PRITHVI, is capable of firing the missile from underwater. This was completed in 2004.
DHANUSH, a ship-launched the variant of PRITHVI, with a range of 150 km is capable of firing from offshore.
AGNI MISSILE SYSTEM:
AGNI (means fire) is the intermediate range ballistic missile system with a range up to 5000 km. It is capable of piercing the atmosphere with high speed when fired. Among Indian missiles programs, Agni is most successful. The variants of AGNI are as follows:
AGNI-I, with a range of 700 km to 900 km and a payload capability of 1000 kg, was test fired in 1989.
AGNI-II, with a range of 2000 km to 3000 km and a payload capability of 1000 kg, was test fired in 1999 and inducted into an army in 2002.
AGNI-III, with a range of 3500 km to 5000 km and a payload capability of 1500 kg, was test fired in 2006 and inducted into an army in 2011.
AGNI-IV, with a range of 3000 km and a payload capability of 1 tonne uses solid propellant and was test fired in 2011.
AGNI-V, with a range of 5000 km and a payload capability of 1000 kg, was test fired in 2012.
AGNI-VI is an inter-continental ballistic missile which is being developed now and it will have a range of 6000 km.
TRISHUL MISSILE SYSTEM:
TRISHUL is a surface to air missile system which can hit the target in the air, with a range of 9 km and payload of 5.5 kg. This project was shut down by IGMDP in 2008.
AKASH MISSILE SYSTEM:
AKASH (means sky) is a medium range surface to air missile which can hit a moving target in the air with a range of 30 km and a payload capability of 720 kg. The missile was successfully test fired in 1997 and was taken by Indian Air Force in 2007.
NAG MISSILE SYSTEM:
NAG missile system is India’s third generation anti-tank missile with a range of 3km to 7km. It can align itself to the target without external help. It was successfully test fired several times and is ready to be inducted in the Indian Army.
In addition to these missile systems, BRAHMOS cruise missile which is capable of delivering a large warhead to distant locations with great accuracy was also successfully test fired in 2004.