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10:55 AM, August 14, 2018
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Agni V test firing (file photo)

India’s long-range ballistic missile, Agni-V will undergo one more test in October before being inducted into the country’s arsenal at the end of the year, according to senior defence ministry officials.

The missile with a range of 5000-5500 km range underwent its penultimate pre-induction test in June and was expected to be inducted by next year. It is being built by the Defence Research Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Advanced Systems Laboratory and it was assumed that the production for deployment would start after the final test, Hindustan Times reported Tuesday.

The missile will be inducted into the Strategic Forces Command for deployment; strategic missiles, Agni 1 to 4, with ranges from 700 km to 3,500 km, have already been deployed by the Strategic Forces Command, which controls India’s ballistic missile arsenal. SFC is also expected to test the missiles after induction.

DRDO has already developed radio frequency seeker technology in the past one-and-a-half years and is currently testing this on the Akash surface-to-air missile and the Astra beyond visual range air-to-air missile. The next generation Akash missile will have a seeker in place of a radio proximity fuse to guide the weapon to the target. “ We will be saving nothing less than INR 50,000 crore (US $7.1 billion) in missile imports within four years as all the armed forces requirements from anti-tank guided missile to medium range surface to air missile will be manufactured in India,” the news daily quoted an unnamed official as saying.

Although the non-strategic missile arsenal will be enhanced in the coming years, the officials added, the strategic missile arsenal will be capped for the present with the Agni-V, with no successor or next series on the horizon or even on the drawing board.

“It is for the government to decide on the missile platform ranges after considering the strategic environment and global threats,” added another official.

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