14 April, 2007 (FIDSNS)
Briefing media, Defence Research and Development Organisation chief M Natarajan said,We have achieved the capability to make missiles with a range of 3,500 km to 5,500 km but the decision (to develop an ICBM) has to be taken by the political leadership.” On being asked whether the proposed ICBM would be christened Surya, Natarajan said it be given a name derived from the Agni series.
DRDO scientists are working on miniaturising the systems of the Agni-III so that a third stage can be squeezed into the 16-metre-long missile to enable it to go up to 5,500 km with the same 1.5-tonne payload,” Natarajan said a day after the first successful launch of the 3,000-km Agni-III.
Agni-III will also be converted into a submarine- launched ballistic missile to open more second-strike options for the country, DRDO scientists told reporters during a briefing.
Agni-3 mission director Avinash Chander mentioned that two to three more launches of Agni-3 is to be carried out in the next three years. DRDO has drawn up a busy schedule of tests for its diverse range of indigenous missiles, with the second test of its missile defence system set for August or October. The organisation is also planning user trials for its surface-to -air Akash missile and fourth generation anti-tank Nag missile.
Mr. Chander also mentioned also mentioned that the DRDO had acted only as an integrating agency with the Agni-III, with most of the missile’s components being made by private industry. A total of 258 private firms and 20 DRDO laboratories were involved in this venture.
This is why there were no production delays and the next missile is being readied in parallel,” he said.
While China has large number of ballastic missile with range upto 14000 kms, there is no conclusive proof that it has better technology than India. Most of the Chinese missiles are of Scud vintage that failed in Iraq war. China has proliferated these older designs to North Korea and Pakistan. China recently tested DF-31 missiles which it claims to be “undefined next generation missile.”