Indigenously developed by DRDO the missile is already in the arsenal of Indian Armed Forces and was launched by the Strategic Forces Command as part of training exercise to ensure preparedness.
Agni-I was first tested at the Interim Test Range in Chandipur in 1989. Instead of developing a new missile from scratch, DRDO decided to scale down Agni-II, which has two solid stages. It used only the first stage. It is part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). Missiles of Agni series are developed by DRDO and manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited. On 28 Mar 2010, a trial was conducted with a special Strategic Forces Command (SFC) nuclear-capable Agni-I ballistic missile, with a range of 700 km from the Wheelers Island off the coast of Orissa, thus making Agni-I missile operational by army.
Features of Agni-I missile
- It is a 15-metre-long medium range ballistic missile.
- It weighs 12 tonnes.
- It has a range of 700–1250 kms.
- It is a single-stage, solid fuel-propelled & surface-to-surface missile.
- It is capable of carrying both conventional as well as nuclear warheads of one tonne (i.e. 1,000 kgs).
Significance of Agni-I missile
- It bridges the felt gap between the Prithvi-II missile, which has a range of 250 km, and the Agni-II, which can strike targets 2,500 km away.
- Agni-I has a range of 700 – 1250 kms and can carry nuclear warheads, thus giving teeth to India’s deterrence posture.
- The Agni-I flight has put India’s credible, minimum nuclear deterrence on a firm footing.
- The success of Agni-I is notable for the speed with which it was conceptualised, developed, mounted on a road launcher and flight-tested. Soon after the Kargil war broke out in June 1999, and in the wake of nuclear tests by India and Pakistan in May 1998, it was felt that India should develop a short-range missile that would fill the gap between Prithvi-II and Agni-II. From the concept stage in October 1999 to the first flight in 15 months’ time signals a speed you cannot see elsewhere.
- Agni-I can blast off from both road and rail mobile launchers. This confers operational advantages (e.g. survivability) in movement, deployment and launch… Given India’s No-First-Use doctrine and Pakistan’s NATO-like adherence to First Use.
- Also, it is at the heart of deterrence in the larger context of Sino-Indian equation & to INDIA’S security calculus.
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Q: Briefly describe what led to the development of AGNI-I missile? What are the various features of the missile & what is its significance to the INDIAN SECURITY ARCHITECTURE?