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India test-fires multiple warhead variants of Agni V missile

The Agni V – pictured above taking part in India's Republic Day parade in 2013 – is a nuclear-capable missile that can carry either a single warhead or multiple warheads over ranges up to 5,500 km. (Indian Ministry of Defence)

India's state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) test-fired the Agni V intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) equipped with multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicle (MIRV) technology for the first time on 11 March.

According to a press release by the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 11 March, the test, called ‘Mission Divyastra', was carried out from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the northeastern coast of Odisha.

“Various telemetry and radar stations tracked and monitored multiple re-entry vehicles. The mission accomplished the designed parameters,” the MoD added.

A senior official at the DRDO told Janes on 12 March that the organisation cannot reveal technical details about the missile because it is envisaged to engage in strategic roles within the Indian Armed Forces.

“With this successful test, India has become a part of the countries which have deployable MIRV technology, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China,” the official added.

According to Janes Weapons: Strategic , Agni V is a road-mobile IRBM. The nuclear-capable missile can carry either a single warhead or multiple warheads over ranges up to 5,500 km. Agni V is a three-stage version of the Agni III rail-mobile IRBM.

The missile has a length of 17 m, a body diameter of 2 m, and a launch weight of about 50,000 kg. Agni V is a solid-fuel weapon that employs a composite motor casing in its second and third stage to reduce weight.

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