India will conduct a crucial test of its China-centric Agni-IV ballistic missile on Tuesday, with a successful trial clearing the decks for its induction into the country’s strategic arsenal.
The 4,000 km range ballistic missile will significantly enhance India’s strategic deterrence against China. The missile has been test-fired four times in three years and barring the first trial, the remaining met mission objectives.
The fifth test will be conducted by the strategic forces command, which manages the country’s nuclear arsenal, from the Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast on Tuesday.
The missile will arm India with the capability of delivering a one-tonne nuclear warhead to a range of 4,000 km. It will be India’s longest range missile as the 5,000 km range Agni-V is still undergoing trials and is likely to be inducted only by 2016.
Agni’s existing variants can hit targets at ranges of 700 km to 3,500 km. The defence research and development organisation (DRDO) is expected to test-fire the Agni-V missile for the third time later this month.
This will be the missile’s first canister launch aimed at injecting more mobility and flexibility into the weapon system.