Published on: June 15, 2021



What is in news : A new-generation nuclear-capable ballistic missile, Agni-P (Prime) was successfully test-fired by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) recently.

Features :

  • New-generation advanced variant of Agni class of missiles
  • It is nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile which has a range of 1,000 and 2,000 km
  • It is Canisterized. Canisterisation of missiles reduces the time required to launch the missile while improving its storage and mobility

Agni missiles

  • Long range, nuclear weapons capable surface to surface ballistic missile.
  • First missile of the series, Agni-I was developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) and tested in 1989.After its success,It was separated from the IGMDP upon realizing its strategic importance.

The family comprises the following:


Type Range

700–1,200 km (Operational)


2,000–3,500 km (Operational)



3,000–5,000 km (Operational)


3,500–4,000  km (Operational)



5,000–8,000 km (Operational)


11,000–12,000 km (Under development)

What is a Surface-to-Surface missile:

  • A surface-to-surface missile is a missile that is launched from the ground to strike land or sea targets.
  • They may be fired from hand-held or vehicles, from a ship or ground installations.
  • They are often powered by a rocket engine or sometimes fired by an explosive charge since the launching platform is typically stationary or moving slowly.
  • They usually have fins and/or wings for lift and stability, although hyper-velocity or short-ranged missiles may use body lift or fly a ballistic trajectory.

Canister Based Launch System

  • Canister based launch system- serves as a container for transportation; a housing during storage aboard a vessel; provides operational flexibility.
  • A canister launch system can be either hot launch, where the missile ignites in the cell, or cold launch, where the missile is expelled by gas produced by a gas generator which is not part of the missile itself, and then the missile ignites.
  • Cold launch is safer than hot launch as the ejection system will eject the missile by itself even if there is a missile failure. In case of Agni V, it will be a cold launch.
  • In case of hot launches the problem is the heat produced by the missile at the time of launch. The hot launch is better for small missiles as the ejection part itself will be done by using missiles own engine.
  • In addition to this technology, India is also working to master the Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology which is also considered as India’s technological solution for Minimum Nuclear Deterrence.
  • The fundamental characteristic of deploying MIRVs is its ability to deliver several warheads along separate trajectories, which confers it flexibility of multiple targeting