Why China is Worried About Agni V


In only one year, India successfully tested two longest-range ballistic missiles that are capable to strike any target in China. On June 3, 20180, Agni-V was successfully tested by the country. Before it becomes completely operationalized, out ‘pre-induction test-flight’ is needed. This is the tri-service agency which holds and fires India’s nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.

The final test-flight will be conducted before the end of this year, stated by senior sources of the Defence Research and Development Organisation. DRDO designed and developed the nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. After final test, the advanced system laboratory of DRDO will start building operational Agni-V missiles.

As a part of standard practice to rehearse the procedure for the event, sources say, in the strategic forces command, as part of operationalising the Agni-V, the military unit will conduct one or two test-firings.


“Agni-V was missile successfully flight tested on June 11 at 0945 hours from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island. All the radars, electro-optical tracking stations and telemetry stations tracked the vehicle all through the course of the trajectory. All the mission objectives have been achieved,” stated by the defence ministry. The Agni-V missile has been successfully launched since April 19, 2012, for four times.

The new tested Agni-V having a range of 5,000 kilometres, will fill a crucial missile gap in country’s nuclear deterrent. However, the current arsenal of Agni-1, Agni-2 and Agni-3 missiles can not target in mainland China, which is beyond the 2,000 km buffer of the Tibetan Plateau.

On the other hand, Agni-V can strike target even beyond the Tibetan plateau and even its northern-most provinces. K-15 submarine-launched ballistic missile which is fired from the nuclear submarine the INS Arihant can be India’s only nuclear option against China.


For Pakistan, DRDO has developed a short-range ballistic missile, the Agni-IP. It can target to a range of 300 to 700 kilometres of the Pakistan-focused nuclear deterrent.

The Agni-V is rumoured to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) but it’s not, it is officially an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM). As it is stated that ICBMs have ranges above 5,500 km. and Agni-V has a range of 6,000 to 7,500 kilometres.

To increase survivability against enemy anti-ballistic missile systems, DRDO is developing the capability to carry multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles; and even manoeuvrable re-entry vehicles, says senior DRDO officials.

Chinese are stating that Agni-V is an ICBM which can strike targets up to 8,000 km. Its incremental development will inevitably reduce its weight to increase its range. Older-heavier ones would be replaced by lighter systems, made from lightweight composites. The Agni-V’s metallic first stage is currently made of heavy ‘maraging steel’, could be fabricated from lighter composites to match up with the second and third stages.

China’s ICBM

Agni-V’s components of stage-1 consist of high-temperature rocket motor nozzles and it is made up of composites. Simply, the ballistic missile could become an all-composite missile having a higher range. It works on the principle of lobbing a stone at a target. To determine where the ballistic missile will land, the impetus and direction imparted is noticed while launching the missile. It is launched from a protective canister with gas compressed to 300 tonnes of pressure.

As soon as the missile left the canister, in only half a second, the first stage ignites that accelerates the missile upwards. After 90 seconds, the Agni-V is hurtling towards space with a speed of one-and-a-half kilometres per second. In the second stage, it burns for 80 seconds to propel the missile to 170 kilometres above the earth. In the third stage, it carried to 260 kilometres.

After separating from three rocket stages, nuclear payload at the tip of the missile is left. Then, it enters to ballistic phase from boost phase and propelled upwards purely on momentum. Within only 10 minutes, it reaches the top of its parabolic path which is 580 kilometres above the earth.

Between Africa and Australia, a targeted end in the Southern Indian Ocean, a radar-equipped home-class amphibious war machine was waiting to monitor the attack of the missile with no scope for error beyond a couple of hundred metres.