Missile is a rocket which can be guided to specific targets over varying distances. A guided missile is equipped with a computer and special equipment which guides it to its target. Some guided missiles can be controlled during their flight from the ground. The load that a missile can carry depends upon the use it is intended for. The war head can be highly explosive which can blast targets. Missile can carry armor piercing war heads backed by high explosives. Missiles can be of different sizes ranging from 1.2 meter to 20 meter length. Small size missiles can be launched only from launching pads and can fly through space and can have a reach which can span the world. Special trucks have to be used to move missiles to the desired launching location where they can serve as launchers. Launchers can be attached to the wings or body of an aero plane or can set upon a ship. Missile submarines use compressed air to push the missile up to the surface where a rocket engine takes over.
Missiles are two types- (a) Ballistic Missiles and (b) Non-ballistic missile. Ballistic missiles as the name suggests are identified by the way they fly. They follow an arching path just like a ball thrown the air. These are the largest of all missiles. These include intercontinental ballistic missiles (range 5500 to 15000 km) intermediate range ballistic missiles (range 2700 to 5500 km.), submarine ballistic missile, medium launched ballistic missile, medium range ballistic missile (range 1100 to 2700 km) and short range ballistic missile (range up to 1100km). Non-ballistic missiles include surface to surface missiles which are launched either from ships or from the ground against surface targets, surface to air missiles, air to air missiles and air to surface targets, surface to air missiles.
The Indian missile programmed started with the launch of the satellite Vechicle-3 (SLV-3) in 1982. In 1985 the integrated guided missile programmed (IGMDP) was started to make India self-retiant in missile technology. Since then we have developed five missiles- Agni, Prithvi, Trishul, Akash and Nag. Those under process of development are Surya (5000 miles), Sangarika (200 miles) and cruise missile (400 miles). The aim of missile development programmed is to strengthen the country’s defense potential to safeguard its security. Missiles with varying ranges and capabilities can achieve this by effectively targeting the locations which are supposed to be support bases of the aggressor from across the border.
According to Dr. Kalam, president of India Republic who is known as the father of India’s space and missile programmed and also as missile man. There is need for India to be well prepared as it is in the neighborhood. Where missiles have played an important role. China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and many central Asian countries are in possession of advanced missile technology. China is far ahead in the missile race. It has completed two rest flight advanced missiles where multiple re-entry vehicles in the range of 8000 km are included. India’s missile development programmed has become very significant in light of the latest nuclear tests conducted by India. A credible nuclear deterrent must have a missile based delivery system. Gaps in the domain of delivery systems have to be budged to round up India’s nuclear deterrent profile. Here is a brief description of the missiles successfully tests fired by India’s so far.
1. Prithvi Missile:
Prithvi is a surface to surface missile with a range of 40km to 350 km. the first test of prithvi conducted in 1988. Currently there are three versions of prithvi-prithvi I test fired in 1988, prithvi II test fired on January 27, 1996 and prithvi III with a range of 350km has been developed for the use by Indian navy. Prithvi’s uniqueness lies in the fact that a large range of war heads can be filled on the missile. It has already been inducted in the army.
2. Agni Missile:
It is a surface to surface missile, 12meter in length and 12 tones in weight. Its range is 700km and covers the whole Pakistan. It can be launched both from Road and Rail moderate launchers. It is based on single stage rocket. It can carry nuclear war heads up to one tone. It was test fired on January 25, 2002. It reached an attitude of 300km and recent earth’s atmosphere and splashed into Bay of Bengal. The lunch was part of India’s efforts to indigenize and guarantee credible nuclear deterrence. It controls new guidance and control systems and fulfills the needs for a nuclear missile which could be launched far away from Indian borders. It has operational advantage like survivability deployment and launched. Agni II was first test fired on April 11, 1999 and again on January 17, 2001. It covers a range of 2000 km in 11 minutes. It is 20 meter long and weighs 16 tones. It can carry a payload 1000kg. It is a major technological leap in India’s efforts to bridge the missile related gap in its defense and fill the vacuum in its nuclear deterrent profile. It can be moved anywhere by a compact system and launched.
It is a short range surface to air missile which can be used by all the three wings of the defense forces. It was launched in 1985. Its range varies from 500 meter to 9 km. it can bring down air craft or helicopter. It used radar line of sight device and is powered by two stage solid propellant system.
This is also surface to air missile with a lethal range of 25 km. it is design to attack multiple air targets. It was first launched in 1990. It can be mounted on tracked vehicles. It can deliver 55 kg .of explosive and has the capacity to strike targets simultaneously. Akash is the first Indian missile in which atmospheric air is used as one of the agents of combustion. Akash with its phased array “Rajendra Radar” can force any intruding air craft to fly only on tree top level from about 20 km across the border. Test trails of Akash were completed at the interim test range in Orissa in December 1997.
5. Nag missile:
Nag is an indigenous third generation anti-tank guided missile with a range of 4 km. it was first tested in 1990. Lassoers guided fire and forget nag missiles is the best in the world. India is among the few countries of the world who have designed an indigenous third generation ATGM which reduces the operator’s role by 100 times.
It is pilotless target aircraft about 6 meters in length. It is computer based and can fly for 15 minutes to travel up to 100 km. at altitudes between 1000 to 2000 feet. It can carry a load of 150 kg. It is being developed and will be test fired soon.
Nishant is also unmanned aerial vehicle which is being developed by the Aeronautical Development. It incorporates advanced design features which are comparable, rather superior to similar vehicles developed anywhere in the world. The system is capable of providing discrete aerial surveillance for extended deviations by day and night. It provides time sensitive battle field status indigence in real time to commanders through data links designed to survive electronic counter measures by adversaries.
It is multi-barrel-rocket system which can send a barrage of explosives on key strategic targets such as oil dumps, harbor areas, troop and tank concentrations up to 40 km. it can also be used to clear mine-fields to facilitate an infantry advance. It has quick reaction time, high accuracy and excellent mobility characteristics.
9. Brah Mos Missile:
Iit is also known as P.J.-10 missile. It was jointly developed by India and Russia and was tested on June 12, 2001 from Chandipur (Orissa). It is a cruise missile because it cruises horizontally and travels only in the atmosphere. It is a ballistic missile which travels in a parabolic arc, takes off in the atmosphere, flees into space and re-enters into atmosphere to hit the target. It is the first ever supersonic cruise missile which uses ramjet technology. The system is called ramjet because it collects the air it needs from the atmosphere during its flight. It travels at three times the speed of sound and is three times faster than the sub-sonic cruise missile. It is highly accurate and can be guided to its targets mainly with the help of an on board computer. It can be launched from a variety of platforms, land, sea or sub-sea. It is the only supersonic cruise missile in existence so far. It can be effectively used by all the three forces. It more than equalizes china’s supersonic anti-ship missiles. Even the U.S. does not have a supersonic cruise missile. Brah Mos missile has been inducted in Indian arsenals since august 15, 2002.
India’s ballistic missile efforts are far more advanced than those of Pakistan. Our missile programmed benefits from the country’s space programmed which provide a concomitant infrastructure for current systems and a basis for intercontinental ballistic missiles. According to experts Agni II with a range of 2500 km intermediate ballistic missile will be able to take aim at major parts of china, as far as Beijing, all of South West Asia. Whole of Pakistan and Iran, as experts believe the future battle-field scenario would be technologically intensive and the effectiveness of the weapons would decide the military strength. In the opinion of a German defense publication,15. Asian countries have cruise missile and only five of them India, China, North Korea, Japan and Taiwan have capabilities of domestic production. India’s nuclear doctrine emphasizes on the nuclear tread as the basis of its deterrent policy and nuclear tread is based on air craft land-based and sea-based missiles and sea-based assets. Thus missiles development programmed has gone to hand in hand with nuclear and space programmed and this is keeping pace with both.