India Tests Advanced Missile

May 2024
By Shizuka Kuramitsu

India claimed a successful second night launch of its latest medium-range ballistic missile, the Agni-Prime (Agni-P), which it said can strengthen the country’s deterrence capabilities. 

In an April 4 press release, the Indian Defence Ministry announced that, on the night of April 3, “Strategic Forces Command (SFC), along with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), conducted the successful flight-test of New Generation Ballistic [Missile].” 

The test missile, launched from Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha, “met all the trial objectives validating its reliable performance, as confirmed from the data captured by a number of range sensors deployed at different locations,” the release said.

Indian Defense Minister Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh was quoted as saying that “the successful development and induction of the missile will be an excellent force multiplier for the Armed Forces.”

The first night launch of the Agni-P was conducted in June 2023 after three developmental trials. It is a canister-launch missile with a warhead that is mated and stored with the missile, thus giving India the operational flexibility to store the missile for a longer period and reducing the time required for preparation and launch. (See ACT, July/August 2023; September 2021.) 

The Defence Ministry has said that the Agni-P “incorporates new propulsion systems and composite rocket motor casings as well as advanced navigation and guidance systems,” The Economic Times reported on April 4. Because the missile is fueled by a solid propellant and is “the smallest and lightest among the entire Agni series of ballistic missiles,” this system “will further bolster the country’s strategic deterrence capabilities once it is inducted after a few more tests,” the news outlet said.

In June 2021, the Agni-P was tested with two decoys, indicating that India possibly would develop and deploy multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs). Last month, India conducted the first flight test of its indigenously developed Agni-5 missile with such MIRV capability. (See ACT, April 2024.)