Indian Agni 5

This 17.5m-tall, solid-fuelled, three stages and a launch weight of 50 tons, with a range of more than 5,000km (3,100 miles), the Agni 5 is termed as IRBM ? (Intermediate range ballistic missile) by many Analyst & GOI. However, anyone with acute observation & minimum knowledge on Physics (Ballistics, Projectile, Trajectory & Payload) can easily deduce Agni 5 is nothing short of an ICBM (Intercontinental range ballistic missile).


For starters, let’s do some comparison with some missiles which are in the same class as of Agni5:


Russian Topol M: payload 1000-1200kg, Weight: 47.2 ton, Range: 11,000 km, Mirv warhead: approx 4-6 each with 300 kg

US Minuteman III: payload 1150kg, Weight: 36 ton, Range: > 8,100 km, Mirv warhead: approx 3-5 each with 270 kg

China DF 31: payload 2500-2800, Weight: 42 ton, Range: > 8,000 km, Mirv warhead: approx 3-6 each with >500 kg

India Agni-V: payload 1500 kg: Weight: 50 ton, Range: 5,500 km, warhead: Single (Mirv approx 3-5 capable in future)


Now, how on Earth a 50 ton missile with 1.5 ton payload range is 5000km onlee whereas Ivan`s Topol M, Panda`s DF31 & Unkil`s Minuteman are in the range class in excess of 8000km. Also Agni 5 warhead reentry speed is Mach 24 which again is an ICBM territory. Well for obvious geopolitical reasons the `True Range` is not published.



Path ahead:

More testing lies ahead, says the DRDO chief. “We will have two more test launches of the Agni-5, and then productionise it for induction into field service with the Strategic Forces Command. We will also start working on different variants of the Agni-5, including MIRVs (




A distinctive feature of the Agni-5 is its “canisterisation”. Immediately after its manufacture, the missile is hermetically sealed into an airtight canister. Mounted on a 16-wheeled transporter-erector-launcher flatbed truck, the missile can be easily transported to a launch site; and fired quickly by hydraulically raising the canister into the vertical firing position. The canister is made of maraging 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 hermitically sealed atmosphere inside the canister allows the missile be stored safely for years.



Arvind Leo Pereira,
Apr 19, 2012, 11:27 AM