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India Pursuing ICBM With 6,000-Mile Range

India intends within the next two years to begin initial testing of an ICBM, the New Indian Express reported on Wednesday (see GSN, April 20).

The future-generation Agni 6 is intended to have a traveling distance of between 4,970 miles and 6,210 miles. Ballistic missiles with ranges greater than roughly 3,420 miles are generally considered to be ICBMs.

India's longest-range existing ballistic missile is the Agni 5, which in a successful maiden test flight in April demonstrated a top flight distance of 3,100 miles (see GSN, April 25).

Informed insiders said the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization has already begun developing the blueprints for the Agni 6.

"It will be a three-stage missile and taller than the Agni 5," said an anonymous source. "The design is just taking shape and other subsystems are under development. If everything goes as per the program, the missile will be ready by mid-2014."

A defense specialist involved in the project said the planned ICBM would be less hefty and cumbersome than the Agni 3, making it easier to relocate The future missile is intended to have the capability to be fired from land or sea. It would be carried by the INS Arihant, the nation's first indigenously produced ballstic missile submarine, according to the report (see GSN, May 21).

Designs call for the Agni 6 to have a maximum loading capacity of 10 nuclear warheads, more than any existing Agni variant, insiders said. Comparatively, the Agni 5 can carry three warheads.

Indian defense scientists are also at work adapting the Agni 5 to be fired from submarines (Hemant Kumar Rout, New Indian Express, May 23).

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