Indian Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully tested the new generation nuclear-capable ballistic missile ‘Agni P’ from Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam island off the coast of Odisha at 1106 hrs on December 18, 2021. Various telemetry, radar, electro-optical stations, and down-range ships positioned along the eastern coast tracked and monitored the missile trajectory and parameters. The missile followed a textbook trajectory meeting all mission objectives with a high level of accuracy. This second flight test has proven the reliable performance of all the advanced technologies integrated into the system.
Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh congratulated DRDO for the successful flight test and expressed his happiness for the excellent performance of the system. Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr. G Satheesh Reddy appreciated the efforts of the team to have done the second development flight trial with many additional features and congratulated them for the consecutive success within the same calendar year.
Agni-P or Agni-Prime (Agni “Fire”) is a medium-range ballistic missile being developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a successor for Agni-I and Agni-II missiles in the operational service of Strategic Forces Command with significant upgrades in the form of the composite motor casing, maneuverable reentry vehicle (MaRV) along with improved propellants, navigation and guidance systems. Agni Prime can be either transported on the train or stored in a canister. DRDO is developing a successor of Agni-I called Agni-1P with two stages that borrowed the newer technologies from Agni-IV and Agni-V to increase accuracy and reliability.
India started working on area denial weapons after China developed DF-21D and DF-26B with nuclear capability to counter US Navy which brought Naval Base Guam within its reach. As a counterbalance, the progress of Agni-P became a crucial part of India’s Indo-Pacific strategy to tackle China’s plan of having five or six aircraft carrier battle groups by 2035 to cover both the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean with access to future overseas logistical bases around the region such as the one it currently has in Djibouti. Agni-P test also increases the chance of India to be part of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.