Agni-2

The Agni-2 is a two-stage, medium-range, rail/road-mobile, solid propellant ballistic missile. Development on the Agni-2 variant missile began in July 1997 after the original Agni (technical demonstrator) missile program was canceled in 1996. The Agni-2 borrows heavily from the original program, though it uses a two-stage solid propellant motor instead of the liquid propelled second stage motor employed by its predecessor.1

Agni-2 at a Glance

Originated from: India
Possessed by: India
Alternate name: Agni-II
Class: Medium Range Ballistic Missile
Basing: Road/rail-mobile
Length: 20.0 m
Diameter: 1.30 m
Launch weight: 16,000 kg
Payload: Single warhead, 1,000 kg
Warhead: Nuclear 150 kt or 200kt, HE
Propulsion: Two-stage solid propellant
Range: 2,000-3,500 km
Status: Operational
In service: 2004

agni-2

In its present configuration, the missile is 20 m in length with a diameter of 1.3 m in the first and second stages. The missile carries a warhead weighing up to 1,000 kg usually consisting of either 150 or 200 kT yield nuclear warheads, but also potentially high-explosive conventional versions. Fully loaded, the missile has a maximum range of 2000 km and a minimum range of 500 km, though if carrying a reduced payload, some speculate it could achieve a range of 3,500 km.2 This capability may be in some doubt though, as a 2010 test launch of an extended range Agni-II+ variant failed.3

The Agni-2 uses a combination of inertial navigation and GPS in its guidance module as well as dual-frequency radar correlation for terminal guidance. Older Agni-2 models used four moving control fins in order to maneuver independently during the terminal phase. Newer models use side thrust motors instead. It has been reported to have an accuracy of 40 m CEP.4

The Agni-2 underwent its first flight test in April 1999 from a rail-car TEL. In 2001, the Agni-2 was tested from a road TEL. The missile was likely introduced to the armed forces in 2004, though technical issues delayed a true operational capability until 2011.5 Delays in operations were likely the result of repeated test failures early in the program.6 The Agni-II is now fully integrated into Army units, and testing has been part of training exercises for the Strategic Forces Command.7

    1. James C. O’Halloran, “Agni 1/2/3/4/5,” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic, (IHS; 2015). 32.
    2. Ibid 32.
    3. Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, “Indian nuclear forces, 2012,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Nuclear notebook, Vol. 68 issue 4 (2012) 98.
    4. O’Halloran 2015 32.
    5. Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, “Indian nuclear forces, 2015,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Nuclear notebook, Vol. 71 issue 5 (2015) 79.
    6. Kristensen and Norris 2012 98.
    7. Press Trust of India, “Nuclear-capable Agni-II missile test fired,” November 9, 2014, Accessed on http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/nuclear-capable-agni-ii-missile-test-fired/.