Tuesday, November 24, 2009

India has much to do on ballistic missiles

According to Indo media reports, India failed its night-test on Agni II medium-range ballistic missile at Orissa coast, east state of India on Nov. 23, 2009. During the flight of the launched missile, the entire missile body began shaking while the second stage was trying to separate with the warhead, and then the missile deviated from the original track due to loss of stability.

This two-stage, solid propellant missile has a total length of about 20 meters and a weight of about 17 tons. It has a range more than 2,000km and is capable of carrying a conventional or a nuclear warhead.

By carrying this night test, India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) was originally trying to convince Indian military that this medium-range ballistic missile could launch at any time and under any condition, after its daytime test has been successfully carried out on May 19. Unfortunately, the result was so frustrating for DRDO.

This failure accumulated more ice on India's missile research. Unlike India has only had a technology for a single warhead ballistic missile with the longest range of less than 4,000km, China has already handled the technology of multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV), which is essential to a multi-warhead ballistic missile.

China’s multi-warhead intercontinental ballistic missiles such as DF series have reached a longest range of 11,200km, and JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile, a range of 7200km. Under the full help from China, even Pakistan has taken a lead over its rival India in the missile area. Some U.S. nuclear experts have estimated that Pakistan has 70 to 90 nuclear warheads more than that of India’s 60 to 80.

To catch up China, India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has been studying the Agni series of ballistic missiles with the MIRV technology to carry multiple nuclear warheads. India has also decided to conduct fourthly a test for its 3,500km range missile Agni III, which is expected to equip Indian military by 2012. The first test for India's most advanced Agni V strategic missiles will also be carried out before the end of 2010 or 2011. It is alleged that the missile's range is expected to reach 6,000km plus.

But anyway, compared with China’s achievement on ballistic missiles, India still has much to do.