Taking a big leap in missile technology advancement, India is all set to launch the canisterised version of its nuclear capable intercontinental ballistic missile Agni-5 next month.
Highly placed sources in Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) told UNI that the launch of Agni-5 in canister is most likely to take place by November end.
Agni-VI having a range of more than 5000 km is capable of hitting the targets well beyond Beijing and other major cities
''Two successful tests of Agni-5 have already been carried out and the third test of the missile will a canister launch,'' a DRDO official said, requesting not to be named.
The new canister avatar Agni-5 is easier to transport and more stealth in feature. The missile can be fired from multiple platforms, the official said.
Canisterisation is a distinctive feature of the Agni-5. After its manufacture, the missile is hermetically sealed into an airtight canister.
Mounted on a flatbed truck, the missile can be easily transported to a launch site; and fired quickly by raising the canister into the vertical firing position.
The canister is made of special steel, allowing it to absorb the enormous stresses of firing, when 300-400 tonnes of thrust is generated to eject the 50-ton missile. The hermetically sealed atmosphere inside the canister allows the missile to be stored safely for years.
The Agni-5 is about 17 meters long and weighs 50 tons. It is a three-stage missile designed to carry an over 1 ton warhead and the farthest reach among all Indian missiles.
The inbuilt gas generator inside the canister ejects the missile up to about a height of 30 meter and then the motor of the missile is ignited.
Agni-5 gives India the ability to launch nuclear weapons from land at will from any where in the country. It will give India the ability to hit back or have second-strike capability even after a nuclear attack.
In the Agni series, India at present has Agni-1 with 700 km range, Agni-2 with 2000 km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2500 km to more than 3500 range.