Since independence, India has added various strategic and tactical missiles in its missile arsenal that serves a number of purposes in New Delhi’s defense strategy. With rigorous decades-long projects, India has developed all types of missile systems including anti-ship, air-defense, ballistic, cruise, air to air, and anti-missile systems. Notably, India is one of seven nations in the world with Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), which has a minimum range of 5,500 kilometers, and one of four countries around the globe with an Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) system.
With the Indian AirForce (IAF) version of the BrahMos, Intercontinental ballistic missile Agni- 5, and other major missiles, India has been adding lethal and potent weapons in its arsenal. Apart from BrahMos and Agni series missiles, India already has Dhanush, Prithvi, and Nirbhay series of missiles in its arsenal.
Here is a look at India’s most lethal missiles:
BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile
An amalgamation of the names of Brahmaputra river and Moskva rivers, BrahMos missiles are designed, developed, and produced by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture company set up by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Mashinostroyenia of Russia.
Multiple versions of the supersonic cruise missile, including those which can be fired from land, warships, submarines, and Sukhoi-30 fighter jets have already been developed and successfully tested earlier. The ship-launched version of BrahMos and the land-based system is in service of the Indian Navy and the Indian Army since 2005 and 2007 respectively.
Later, the air-launched version Brahmos was successfully flight-tested for the first time from the IAF frontline fighter aircraft Sukhoi-30MKI against a sea-based target in the Bay of Bengal on November 22, 2017.
The BrahMos is a medium-range supersonic missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land-based platforms. It is considered to be the fastest supersonic missile in the world that can achieve a speed 2.8 times the speed of sound.
Considered as the fastest supersonic missile in the world, the land-attack version of BrahMos has the capability of cruising at 2.8 Mach speed and with the upgraded capability, the missile can hit targets at a range of up to 400 kilometers with precision. Advanced versions of the range above 1,000 kilometers and speed up to 5 Mach are said to be under development.
India’s only Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), Agni-V has a 5,000 km plus range, with the view that its range can be easily extended to at least 8,000 km. The lethal missile is a three-stage solid-fueled missile and is configured to carry up to 10 Multiple Independently-targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs). The missile is 17.5-20 m long, 2-2.2 m wide with a launch weight of 49,000-55,000 kg.
The missile is carried by a road-mobile truck, allowing the mobilization of missile across the country easily. The missile has claimed to be tested more than 7 times before moving to user trials with the Army.
Agni P Ballistic Missile
In the latest addition, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight tested a New Generation Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missile Agni P on June 28 this year.
Agni P is a new generation advanced variant of the Agni class of missiles. It is a canisterised missile with range capability between 1,000 and 2,000 kms.
Inducted in service since 2013, Agni-IV is an Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) with a range of between 3,500-4,000 km and a warhead capacity of 800 kg which will be a nuclear fission bomb of 20 or 45 KT. The missile is 20 m long, along with a two-stage solid propellant missile with a launch weight of 17,000 kg.
Shaurya is a submarine-launched medium-range ballistic missile that is 12 m long, 0.8 m wide, comprises a two-stage solid propellant, and has a range of 3,000-3,500 km.
Another intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) of India, Agni-III comprises a two-stage solid propellant engine, and has a strike range of 3,000 km. The missile is 16.7 m long, 1.85 m wide, launch weight 48,000 kg and carries a single 2,000 kg warhead. Agni-III has multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV), which can annihilate several targets simultaneously.
Serving the nation since 2004, the medium-range Agni-II ballistic missile is 20 m long, 2.3 m wide and has a launch weight of 16,000 kg. Agni-II is a road/rail-mobile launch missile that can has an operational range between 2,000–3,500 km.