AGNI-3 IRBM (Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile),Indian Armed Forces
The Agni series of ballistic missiles was developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme of the Defence Research and Development Organisation of India.It is a family of medium to intercontinental range Ballistic missiles named after one of the five elements of nature.
Agni missiles are long range,nuclear weapons capable surface to surface ballistic missile.The Agni missiles family consists of four deployed variants.The Agni-I,Agni-II,Agni-III and Agni-IV are in service with Indian army.Agni-V,The Fifth series of Agni missiles are under testing.A new intercontinental ballistic missilevariant,the Agni-VI is under development.It is expected to give its service service to Indian Army by 2018.
India also possesses other powerful missiles like Akash,Prithvi,Nag and Trishul where all have different strike capabilities and roles but the Agni is by far the most superior set of missiles India is in possession of.
Let us discuss about the Agni missiles one by one.
Check other Missiles in AGNI Series
AGNI-1 SRBM (Short Range Ballistic Missile),Indian Armed Forces
AGNI-2 MRBM (Medium Range Ballistic Missile),Indian Armed Forces
AGNI-4 IRBM (Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile),Indian Armed Forces
AGNI-5 ICBM (intercontinental Ballistic Missile),Indian Armed Forces
AGNI-3 IRBM (Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile),Indian Armed Forces
Agni-3 is an intermediate-range ballistic range missile developed and designed by by Indian government Defence Research and Development Organisation as a successor to Agni-2.It is two stage solid propellent ballistic missile with a range of atleast 3500-5000 km and capable of engaging targets deep inside neighbouring countries or it can cover any part of China mainland.This missile would seem to be big step in India’s deterrence policy towards China.
The missile Circular Error Probable or CEP is within 40 metres range,which makes it most sophisticated and accurate ballistic missile of its range class in the world.The Agni-III/Agni-3 was inducted in Indian Armed forces from June 2011 and is under production.
India’s Minimum Credible Nuclear Deterrence envisages a triad of nuclear counter-strike capability which required a long range missile to provide robust second strike capability. A missile system that can be dispersed far and wide in the Indian mainland, its far flung islands or its blue water naval assets dispersed across the world’s oceans. Following this necessity India developed a larger Agni-III missile, with a heavier payload and a longer range but in a compact configuration, i.e. thicker but shorter length. This development is driven by need for a more assured retaliation that can defeat emerging anti ballistic missile (ABM) defence and countermeasures. Such capability requires a compact missile that can also carry ABM counter-measure payloads along with weapons, in a configuration similar to a MIRV, albeit with state-of-the-art decoys.
The missile was designed and Developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) a unit DRDO,which was formed in September 2001 with the aim to develop the large-sized rocket motors. ASL developed the propulsion plant for solid-fuel motors, including the infrastructure for propellant casting. The stubby two-stage solid fuel missile is compact and small enough for easy mobility and flexible deployment on various surface/sub-surface platforms.
Flight Tests and Trails
The Agni-3 has been test-fired several times. Its first test, on July 9, 2006 was unsuccessful. All subsequent tests, on April 12, 2007, May 9, 2008, and February 7, 2010 have been successful and met testing criteria.Then after On 21 September 2012, as part of regular user-training the Strategic Forces Command test fired an Agni III missile from a rail mobile launcher. The missile was randomly chosen from a production lot. All mission objectives were achieved and the missile hit the pre-designated target with a two-digit accuracy.Recent on 16th April 2015 Agni-III was tested successfully from wheeler Island off Odisha coast.
Features and Capabilities
Compared to its sister missile, the Agni-2, the Agni-3 is shorter, wider, and considerably heavier. Whereas the Agni-2 is 20 m long, the newer missile is only 17 m long. With a width of 2 m and a weight of 22,000 kg, the Agni-3 delivers a much heavier warhead, at a much greater distance.
DRDO carried out extensive technological enhancement to enhance the performance and to reduce the weight of Agni-III missile system and to for this entire system was redesigned including the use of Maraging steel and a composite rocket.By doing this DRDO successful in reducing the weight of Agni-III missile system by 22 tonnes.
The AGNI-III is capable of carrying the payload of 2000-2500 kg. A nuclear fusion warhead with a yield of 200-300 kT is expected as the primary warhead for the missile, but possible upgrades could also implement MIRV technology. HE or submunition warheads could also be fitted to the missile.
Propulsion and Performance
The Agni-II features two-stage solid propellent engine. The first stage booster is made of advanced carbon composite materials to provide high payload fraction (mass fraction). It weighs about 32 tonnes, is 7.7 meters long and diameter of 2 metres. The second stage made of maraging steel weighing about 11 tonnes and a length of 3.3 metres. The second stage has vectoring nozzles, to provide necessary flight trajectory control.
The Missile has the operational range of 3500-5000 km however it can reach to a range of 6000 km with the decreased payload. A new chromium-based nose-coating technology could additionally to improve the missile’s range by minimizing atmospheric drag.The missile is capable of hitting the target at the speed of Mach 17 or (5-6 km/sec) with the outstanding accuracy of CEP 40 m.
Mobility and guidance/navigation system
The Agni-3 can be fired from a 8×8 TELAR (Transport erector Launcher) rail-based launcher.It is integrated with sophisticated navigation,guidance and control systems along with advanced on-board computer systems. The electronic systems are hardened for higher vibration, thermal and acoustic effects.A high performance indigenous ring laser gyro-based navigation system is also equipped with Agni-III.
Agni RV Mk 4 and Submarine variant of Agni-III
The Agni-III is equipped with RV which is self contained with velocity correction package,navigation and re-entry control system.The lighter and tougher RV body has an all-carbon composite re-entry heat shield with multi-directional carbon re-entry nose tip and control surfaces. The new lightweight composites can withstand temperatures of up to 6000 degrees Celsius, and are capable of greater re-entry velocity.
DRDO is also working on a submarine launched version of Agni-III missile,which will provide India with a credible sea based second strike capability.The unnamed variant of K-4 missile with the range of 5000 km is under development which is the submarine version of Agni-III missile system.
Check the Video of AGNI-3 IRBM (Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile),Indian Armed Forces launch