Agni-3

The Agni-3 is an intermediate-range, two-stage solid propellant ballistic missile. Compared to the original Agni-1 and Agni-2, the Agni-3 is shorter, wider, and capable of delivering a heavier warhead. Whereas the Agni-2 is 20 m long, the newer missile is only 16.7 m long. With a width of 1.85 m and a weight of 48,000 kg though, the Agni-3 delivers a heavier warhead a greater distance.1

Agni-3 at a Glance

Originated from: India
Possessed by: India
Class: Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM)
Basing: Rail-mobile, possible road-based TEL
Length: 16.7 m
Diameter: 1.85 m
Launch weight: 48,000 kg
Payload: Single warhead, 2,000 kg
Warhead: Nuclear fusion 200-300 kT; possible MIRV version
Propulsion: 2-stage solid propellant
Range: 3,000-5,000 km
Status: Operational

agni-3

Most estimates of the Agni-3’s range are between 3,000 and 3,200 km,2 though some sources list it as high as 5,000 km with the potential to reach 6,000 with better motors and a light payload.3 One explanation for the higher range estimates could be the development of a chromium coating, which Indian scientists claimed in 2008 would boost the range to 4,900 km.4 An Indian defense official claimed in 2008 that the introduction of this missile meant New Delhi had the capability to strike even Shanghai in China.5

The maximum payload of the Agni-3 is 2,000 kg. Some suggest a fusion warhead of about 200-300 kT will be the primary warhead and others claim the missile could carry MIRVs, conventional high explosives, or submunitions.6 The RV likely uses an imaging infrared or active radar terminal correlation seeker, reported to have an accuracy of 40 m CEP.7

Rail-based launchers have exclusively fired the Agni-3 so far, though reports suggest future development of a truck TEL for a road-mobile version as well. In 2014, the Indian Ministry of Defense declared the Agni-3 part of the arsenal of the armed forces and the missile was part of its third user trial in April 2015.8

Sources

  1. James C. O’Halloran, “Agni 1/2/3/4/5,” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic, (IHS; 2015). 33.
  2. Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, “Indian nuclear forces, 2012,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Nuclear notebook, Vol. 68 issue 4 (2012) 98; Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, “Indian nuclear forces, 2015,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Nuclear notebook, Vol. 71 issue 5 (2015) 80.
  3. James C. O’Halloran, “Agni 1/2/3/4/5,” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic, (IHS; 2015). 33.
  4. Karthik Subbaraman & Peerzada Abrar, “New tech to boost missile range by 40%,” The Economic Times, September 10, 2008, Accessed on http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2008-09-10/news/27724374_1_coating-longest-range-missile-missile-range.
  5. Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, “Indian nuclear forces, 2015,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Nuclear notebook, Vol. 71 issue 5 (2015) 80.
  6. James C. O’Halloran, “Agni 1/2/3/4/5,” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic, (IHS; 2015). 34.
  7. James C. O’Halloran, “Agni 1/2/3/4/5,” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic, (IHS; 2015). 34.
  8. Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, “Indian nuclear forces, 2015,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Nuclear notebook, Vol. 71 issue 5 (2015) 80.
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