India is planning to conduct its first user trial of the nuclear-capable Agni-5 ballistic intercontinental missile this month, The New Indian Express revealed.
According to the Chennai-based outlet, the missile will be tested on September 23, paving the way for its serial production.
The outlet revealed that the pandemic delayed the missile’s induction into the armed forces in 2020, as some important tests of the “multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV)” missile could not take place.
The outlet wrote that the upcoming trial will test the weapon’s MIRV capability. Though the missile’s MIRV capability was “secretly” tested in June, the September test will be live. A MIRV missile hits multiple targets in a single launch and is more difficult to intercept by an anti-ballistic missile system than a conventional missile.
With a range of 5,000 kilometers (3,107 miles), the Agni-5 is equipped with a “ring laser gyroscope-based inertial navigation system and micro inertial navigation system.” The gyroscope displays the missile location and trajectory. The Print wrote, citing sources, that the ring-laser gyroscopes are more accurate than other navigation technologies.
The 17.5-meter, three-stage solid-fuel rocket weighs 50 tons with a payload capacity of 1.5 tons. The weapon’s range allows it to strike targets in parts of Africa, Europe, and all of Asia.