India will for the first time test fire its 5000-km range Agni-V ballistic missile by the end of this year in what is being seen as a major leap in the country's missile capability.
"Agni-V missile would be ready for test by the end of this year, probably in December," Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief VK Saraswat said in New Delhi on Friday on the sidelines of a function.
He said that the 3000-km range Agni-III missile has already been inducted into the armed forces.
"Agni-III is already inducted. Its development has been completed and is under production," he said.
Saraswat was replying to the queries on development schedule of Agni-III and Agni-V series of missiles after defence minister AK Antony, who addressed the function, asked DRDO to prioritise development of the 5000-km range ballistic missile.
Congratulating DRDO for developing Ballistic Missile Defence System, Antony said, "DRDO must demonstrate the capability to develop missiles of the range of 5000 km at the earliest. This is a challenge for the DRDO and I hope they will successfully meet this challenge at the earliest."
"The first trial is expected to start in December this year followed by a series of modifications and further trials over the next few years. This missile would be based on the concept of re-entry vehicle capable of covering whole of Pakistan and China," DRDO officials said.