IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


3rd June, 2023 Defence

Image source: The Hindu, Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.


  • India successfully carried out the training launch of a medium-range Agni-1 ballistic missile from an island in the Indian state of Odisha named after former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.

About the Training Launch:

  • A training launch is done before the induction of the missiles for operational use in the military.
  • The training launch validates all operational and technical parameters of the missile.
  • The flight trial was also a part of its ambitious ballistic missile defence programme for possessing the sea-based missile as a defence mechanism to neutralise ballistic missile threats.
  • The training launched ensured that the missile is a proven system with the capability of striking targets with a very high degree of precision.

About Agni I Missile:

  • The medium-range Agni-1 ballistic missile has a strike range from 700-1200 kilometres and weighs around 12,000 kilograms.
  • It is also capable of carrying a payload of up to 1,000 kg.
  • Agni 1 was first tested in 1989 at the Interim Test Range in Chandipur, but they were Short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM).
  • Agni-I is used by the Strategic Force Command (SFC) of the Indian Army.

About Ballistic Missile:

  • Ballistic missile follows ballistic trajectory i.e. a projectile trajectory.
  • It is a missile that is initially powered and guided but after sometime it falls under gravity onto its target.

How is it different from Cruise Missile?

A cruise missile is a type of low-flying strategic guided missile and  they are guided throughout their trajectory.

Sl. No.

Cruise Missile

Ballistic Missile


They are guided throughout the journey.

Only powered and guided initially.


They are long range and can carry medium load.

They can have very long range and can carry heavy warhead


Carries a single warhead.

Can carry multiple play loads. Ex. MIRV capable Agni VI


It has high precision

It has low precision


examples include Brahmos Missile

Prithvi, Agni, Dhanush,etc.

A brief history of Agni missiles development in India:

The development of the Agni missile series began in 1982-83 under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) led by former president, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

Under IGMDP following missiles were launched:

  1. Prithvi: It is a Short range surface to surface missile
  2. Trishul: it is a short range surface to air missile
  3. Aakash: It is a Medium range surface to air missile
  4. Nag: It is Third generation anti-tank missile
  5. Agni-I: Only first launch of Agni-I was done under IGMDP. After initial success, Agni missile was separated from the IGMDP due to its strategic importance.

India has since developed various variants of the Agni series of missiles which are:

  • Agni-I: Earlier version of Agni-I was SRBM but the latest version tested on June 2, 2023 is Medium range Ballistic Missile. It is powered by solid propellants.
  • Agni-II: Agni-II has a range of 2,000–2,500 km. Agni – II uses solid propellant in both the stages.It’s version of nuclear-capable intermediate range ballistic missile has a strike range of 2,000 km To 3000 km and can carry a payload of 1,000 kg.
  • Agni-III: It was first tested in 2006. Agni-III has a range of 3,500 km, and carries a warhead of 1.5 tonnes. With lighter warheads its range goes up to 5000 kms.
  • Agni-IV: Agni-IV is the fourth in the Agni series of missiles. It was earlier known as Agni II prime. It was first tested in 2011. It’s range is range of 3,000–4,000 km. It is a two-stage missile with solid propellant.
  • Agni-V: Agni-V is a solid fueled intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).It is a three stage solid propelled Ballistic Missile. Its strike range goes beyond 7000 kms.
  • Agni-VI: Agni-VI is an intercontinental ballistic missile being developed by DRDO. It is a four stage solid fuel propelled missile. It is an Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) capable ICBM. 

Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) is an exoatmospheric ballistic missile payload which has several warheads, each of which is capable of being aimed to hit a different target


Q. Consider the following statement about Agni Missile system:

  1. Agni missiles are long range cruise missiles developed under Integrated Ballistic Missile Development programme.
  2. Agni-I has a strike range of 700-1200 Kms.
  3. Agni V is a Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) capable vehicle.

Which of the above statements are incorrect?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 2 and 3 only

Ans: 2