Following Agni 5 Success India Plans Longer-Range Missile

India's nuclear-capable Agni 5 missile is tested Sunday morning. Weapon designers are reportedly now focusing on developing the country's first ICBM, the Agni 6 (Indian Defense Research and Development Organization photo).
India's nuclear-capable Agni 5 missile is tested Sunday morning. Weapon designers are reportedly now focusing on developing the country's first ICBM, the Agni 6 (Indian Defense Research and Development Organization photo).

Emboldened by Sunday's launch of the nuclear-capable Agni 5, Indian weapon designers are turning their focus to developing a next-generation missile with an initial range of 3,700 miles, the New Indian Express reported.

Indian Defense Research and Development Organization officials are calling the missile the Agni 6 and "Surya," according to unidentified defense insiders.

Later iterations of the missile could be designed to travel in excess of 6,200 miles.

India technically does not possess an intercontinental-ballistic missile, though its developmental Agni 5 comes close to its reach with a tested range of 3,100 miles. An ICBM is typically understood to have a minimum top flight distance of 3,400 miles, according to the Times of India.

DRDO head Avinash Chander on Monday claimed India only would need "two-and-a-half years" to ready a missile with a 6,200 mile range. However, no current security need calls for such an ICBM.

"Range is the least problematic area," Chander said. "We have the full capability to go to any range ... [and] it's just a question of additional propellant and larger motors. But, as of now, we don't see the need for a higher range."

India's development of the Agni 5 and Agni 6 is not see as directed against its longtime nuclear-rival Pakistan, but rather toward China.

September 18, 2013
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Emboldened by Sunday's launch of the nuclear-capable Agni 5, Indian weapon designers are turning their focus to developing a next-generation missile with an initial range of 3,700 miles, the New Indian Express reported.

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