The Agni-1 is a short-range, road/rail-mobile, solid propellant ballistic missile. Falling between the short-range and medium-range categories, it fills the gap between India’s Prithvi systems and the Agni-2. The Agni-1 uses only the first-stage motor of the Agni-2 platform. It has a shorter range but a heavier payload than the Agni-2, which was derived more directly from the Agni-demonstrator.1

Agni-1 at a Glance

Originated from: India
Possessed by: India
Class: Short-Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM)
Basing: Road/rail-mobile
Length: 14.80 m
Diameter: 1.30 m
Launch weight: 12,000 kg
Payload: Single warhead, 2,000 kg
Warhead: Nuclear 20 or 45 kT, HE, submunitions, FAE
Propulsion: Single-stage solid propellant
Range: 700-1,200 km
Status: Operational
In service: 2004


The Agni-1 is 14.8 m long, 1.3 m in diameter, with a launch weight of 12,000 kg. It has a range of 700 km with an accuracy of 25 m CEP at a range of 860 km. At its maximum payload of 2,000 kg, the missile can carry a 20 or 45 kT nuclear warhead, or conventional explosives.2 By reducing the payload by half, the Agni-1 could most likely extend its range to 1,200 km, a distance which encompasses all of Pakistan. Payload weight reductions could also be used to include penetration aids. Some suspect that the reentry vehicle also includes liquid propellant side-thrust motors to add a degree of maneuverability to avoid defenses.3 The Agni-1 is designed to be launched from Transporter-Erector-Launcher (TEL) vehicles, either based on road or rail-mobile platforms. In addition, the missile has a relatively high accuracy, due to its combination of an inertial guidance system with a terminal phase radar correlation targeting system on its warhead.4

Development of the Agni-1 began in 1999, and the missile was first tested in January 2002 from a TEL vehicle at the Interim Test Range on Wheelers’ Island off India’s eastern coast. American reports suggest that this first test was a failure due to a failure of the RV to separate – but subsequent tests have been successful.5 Military sources indicate the missile is currently in production at a consistent rate, and that full scale production was approved in August 2004.6 Reports suggest that the missile did not become operational though until 2007.7 The missile was successfully test launched in both November 2015 and March 2016.8

    1. Duncan Lennox, “Agni 1/2/3/4/5.” in Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Offensive Weapons). August 13, 2011.
    2. Ibid
    3. James C. O’Halloran, “Agni 1/2/3/4/5,” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic, (IHS; 2015). 31.
    4. Ibid 31.
    5. Ibid 32.
    6. Ibid 32.
    7. Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, “Indian nuclear forces, 2015,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Nuclear notebook, Vol. 71 issue 5 (2015) 79.
    8. The Economic Times, “India test-fires nuclear-capable Agni-I ballistic missile,” March 14, 2016, Accessed on