Missiles Of India - A Comprehensive Overview Of India's Deadly Missile Arsenal
India since gaining its sovereignty has amplified its stock of strategic and tactical missiles that caters to several defence strategies made by the Government of India. With an amalgamation of science, technology and human resource, India has set its foot in developing the most lethal and advanced missile systems in the world including anti-ship, air-defence, ballistic, cruise, air to air, anti-missile systems and even the capability to hit targets in space. India also marks itself among the seven countries possessing the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), which can travel a minimum distance of 5,500 km. India is also one of the four nations owning an Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) system.
India has a lethal stockpile of potent weapons, with the Indian Air Force (IAF) version of the BrahMos, Intercontinental ballistic missile Agni-5 and other pivotal missiles. Along with these, India incorporates the missile series of Prithvi, Dhanush and Nirbhay in its stockpile of ammunition.
Here is a list of some among India's missiles:
A surface-to-air missile (SAM), or ground-to-air missile (GTAM) is a weapon designed to be launched from the Earth to destroy enemy aircraft or other missiles and can be considered as an anti-aircraft defence system in modern armed forces.
Trishul missiles are short-range surface to air missiles with an operational range of 9km.
- Akash Missile
Presently, there are three variants at different stages of development, Akash-1S, Akash Mark-II, Akash-NG. The Akash -1S can travel up to a distance of 18 to 30 km, while the Akash Mk-II and Akash-NG can travel 35 to 40 km and more than 50 km, respectively.
- Barak 8
The long-range Indo-Israeli surface to Air Barak 8 Missile can travel up to a distance of 100 km to hit the target with Mach 2 speed, i.e, twice the speed of sound or 2470 km/hr.
Surface-to-surface missiles are 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 enabled with a rocket engine or sometimes fired by an explosive charge since the launching platform is typically stationary or moving.
A medium-range ballistic missile that can travel a distance of 700-1250 km to hit its target. The missile can reach Mach 7.5 speed. It is a single-stage missile that was developed after the Kargil War by the DRDO.
It is the second strategic ballistic missile of the Agni family envisaged to be the mainstay of the Indian missile-based strategic nuclear deterrence. An Intermediate-range ballistic missile, Agni-II can reach a distance of 2,000-3,000 km while travelling at Mach 12 speed.
It is an Intermediate-range ballistic missile that can travel a range of 3,000 km with a speed of 5-6 km/s, it was deployed to service in 2011 and can reach targets deep inside neighbouring countries including China.
Designed by the DRDO and inducted in service in 2013, The Agni-IV is an Intermediate-range ballistic missile that can reach a distance of around 4,000 km at Mach 7 speed.
The Agni-V missile is an Indian nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile developed by the DRDO and is India's only Intercontinental ballistic missile with a 5,000 km range that can reach an exceptional Mach 24 speed.
- Prithvi II
A Short-Range Ballistic Missile, Prithvi II can travel a distance of 350 km. The missile is developed by the DRDO
The Shaurya missile is a canister launched hypersonic surface-to-surface tactical missile developed by the DRDO for use by the Indian Armed Forces. The missile can reach a distance of 750 to 1,900 km to destroy its target.
Air to Air Missiles (AAM) is a missile fired from an aircraft with a motive to damage another aircraft or any airborne object. AAM is either solid fuelled or sometimes liquid-fuelled. It evolved from unguided air to air rockets used during World War-I.
MICA is an anti-air multi-target, all-weather, fire-and-forget short and medium-range missile system encompassing a range of 500 m to 80 km reaching Mach 4 during its deployment.
- Astra Missile
Developed indigenously by the DRDO, Astra is an all-weather beyond-visual-range active radar homing air-to-air missile encompassing a range of 80-110 km reaching the Mach 4.5 + speed.
- Novator K-100
A Russian-made medium-Range air-to-air missile can be deployed to hit targets in the range of 300-400 km with a Mach 3.3 speed.
A cruise missile is guided to its target by an onboard computer. It is a guided missile used against terrestrial targets, that remain in the atmosphere and flies the major portion of its flight path at an approximately constant speed. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a target warhead over long distances with high precision.
- BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile
BrahMos missiles are designed developed and produced by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture company set up by the DRDO and Mashinostroyenia of Russia. The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile can cover a range of 290 km reaching the Mach 2.8 to 3 Mach speed.
- BrahMos II
Meanwhile, the BrahMos- II Hypersonic cruise missile can be deployed to hit the target within a range of 450 - 600 km in a Mach 7 velocity. The missile is currently under joint development by the DRDO and Russia's NPO Mashinostroyenia.
The Nirbhay subsonic cruise missile can reach a maximum range of 1,000 to 1500 km to destroy its target with a Mach 0.8 speed. The missile can be launched from multiple platforms and is capable of carrying conventional and nuclear warheads.
Submarine-launched ballistic missile
A submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) is a ballistic missile capable of being launched from submarines. Each missile carries a nuclear warhead and allows a single launched missile to strike several targets. Modern submarine-launched ballistic missiles are closely related to intercontinental ballistic missiles which can be deployed to reach a range of over 5,500 km.
- Sagarika (K-15)
Sagarika (K-15) is an Indian submarine-launched ballistic missile that can reach a range of 750 km that was designed for retaliatory nuclear strikes.
- K-4 Ballistic Missile
The K-4 Ballistic Missile is a nuclear-capable Intermediate-Range submarine-launched ballistic missile developed by the DRDO to arm the Arihant-class submarines. The missile has a maximum range of 3,500 km.
- K-5 Missile
The K-5 is a submarine-launched ballistic missile under development by the DRDO. The missile has a planned range of 5,000 km and will be equipped with Arihant-class submarines and is considered to be the fastest missile in its class.
An anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) is a guided missile primarily designed to hit and destroy heavily armoured military vehicles, which can be transported by a single soldier, to larger tripod-mounted weapons, which require a team to transport and fire, to vehicle and aircraft mounted missile systems.
The Amogha-1 is an ATGM with a range of up to 2.8km. It is under development by Bharat Dynamics at Hyderabad. It is the maiden missile designed and tested by Bharat Dynamics and will be produced in two versions. The land version has already been tested.
- Nag Missile
The Nag missile, also known as 'Prospina' for the land-attack version is an Indian third-generation, all-weather, fire and forget, an anti-tank guided missile with an operational range of 500m to 20km and ten-year maintenance-free shelf life.
An Anti-ballistic missile is a surface to air missile designed and manufactured to counter ballistic missiles (Missile defence). Ballistic missiles are used to deliver nuclear, chemical, biological or conventional warheads in a ballistic attack.
- Prithvi Air Defence (PAD)
The Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) is a two-stage liquid and solid-fueled ballistic missile defence high altitude interceptor based on the Prithvi missile. The two-stage interceptor is 10 meters tall and is said to reach a maximum altitude of 80km.
- Prithvi Defense Vehicle (PDV)
The Prithvi Defense Vehicle (PDV) is an exo-atmospheric interceptor missile designed and manufactured to shoot down short-medium, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase by intercepting with a hit-to-kill approach.
In March 2019, India joined an exclusive club of countries that has the capability to hit a target in space as it tested the anti-satellite missile via 'Mission Shakti'. This test, which came just months after India completed its fully operational nuclear triad (being able to launch nuclear warheads from air, land and sea), made India just the fourth country, after the US, Russia and China to be able to do so.