Thursday, January 12, 2012

CLUB-CLASS: India now eyes ICBM Agni-6, even as A-5 readies to spit fire; Work on MIRV, MarV possibilities begin


Bangalore: India’s big bang missile Agni-5 is moving towards the strike-zone carrying new technologies as a stepping stone for futuristic killer-missions. But, silently yet another story is being scripted for Agni-6, India’s club-class Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Range: In excess of 6,000 km!

Notwithstanding what happens with the A-5 launch, sources tell that the missile scientists are already looking at newer possibilities in making future strike meaningful and menacing. “There are many more areas in long range missiles where future work can happen. Multiple independently-targeted re-entry vehicles (MIRV), manoeuvring re-entry vehicles (MaRV) considerably lighter weights using all composite structure with high energy propellant, the intelligent counter measures against BMD (ballistic missile defences), reducing radar cross-sections are some of them,” sources said.

But, military experts point out that the Defence Reserach and Development Organisation (DRDO) will have to travel some distance before achieving the MIRV\MaRV capabilities. “Good to hear we are on track but it is a very complex technology. It’s worth the wait and see when A-5 will be finally inducted into the Services, with what features and in what numbers. Range and accuracy are first two primary factors one should watch for,” a warhead specialist with Indian Army told Express.

Avinash Chander, Chief Controller, R&D (Missiles and Strategic Systems), DRDO, told Express over the phone from New Delhi that his team has definitely taken stock of the road ahead. “Future systems may carry different types of payloads such as high energy weapons.  All these technology developments are within the horizon. Further systems whenever planned, will have some of these (read as MIRV\MarV) features,” Avinash said. However, he refused to comment on Agni-6.

To a query on the factors that have influenced during A-5 development, Avinash, the brain behind the missile, said that India needs a platform which has the range to cover its emerging area of influence. “It also needs high mobility, safety and accuracy. A-5 provides a state-of-the-art weapon, an amalgam of multiple front-end technologies and capabilities. Along with A-4, it represents the new generation of Agni series. It also provides a strategic depth enabling its positioning deep within our country where it has much higher survivability,” he said adding: “It also enables launch from anywhere with very short reaction time which makes it extremely difficult to deny its usage by any hostile intervention by the enemy.”

When asked about the possible launch date of A-5, Avinash said: “We are on course. These are all highly technology-intense missions. The launch campaign will officially begin in the middle of the month. These are first-time developments and there will be some uncertainties.”

V G Sekaran, Director, Advanced System Laboratories (ASL), says that the confidence of going for a project like A-5 came from DRDO’s matured work-cluture. “Today we are not shying away from taking risks and our enthusiasm comes with age, experience, fearlessness and the freedom to explore. Agni-5 will be a new chapter as we enter a different class of missile field,” Sekaran said.

COURTESY: The New Indian Express

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