12 Mar 2024

Mission Divyastra: Why Successful Test of Agni-5 Missile Equipped with MIRV Technology is a Significant Milestone

New Delhi: India achieved a significant milestone as the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted first successful flight test of indigenously developed Agni-5 missile with Multiple Independently Targetable Re-Entry Vehicle ( MIRV) technology. The flight test named Mission Divyastra was carried out from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha. Various Telemetry and radar stations tracked and monitored multiple re-entry vehicles. The Mission accomplished the designed parameters.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the efforts of the DRDO scientists who participated in the conduct of the complex Mission. In a post on social media platform X He said, “ Proud of our DRDO scientists for Mission Divyastra, the first flight test of indigenously developed Agni-5 missile with Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology.” Notably, a female DRDO scientist led the mission, with several women scientists playing integral roles in its success.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has also congratulated the scientists and the entire team, terming it as an exceptional success.

A pivotal advancement in India’s defense capabilities

“Mission Divyastra,” marks a pivotal advancement in India’s defense capabilities. This mission introduces the Agni-5 MIRV missile, an indigenously developed weapons system that significantly enhances India’s geopolitical stance and strategic posture, particularly in Southeast Asia. Developed over more than a decade, the Agni-5 missile’s successful first flight is a testament to India’s growing prowess in defense technology.

Understanding MIRV Technology

DRDO scientists have dedicated years to developing MIRV technology, enabling a single missile like the Agni-5 to carry multiple warheads capable of independently targeting various locations. The system incorporates indigenous systems and high-precision sensor packages, ensuring the re-entry vehicles reach their intended targets with exceptional accuracy.

Agni-5 ICBM and MIRV Technology

The Agni-5 ICBM, which travels into space before re-entering the atmosphere, now boasts the capability to engage multiple targets at distinct locations through MIRV technology. This groundbreaking advancement allows for the deployment of several warheads—whether nuclear or non-nuclear—from the same missile, covering locations separated by several hundred kilometers, with some MIRVed missiles reaching up to 1,500 kilometers.

The MIRV technology empowers nations to engage multiple targets strategically, providing a first-strike advantage during wartime. 

Operational Range and Safety Net

With an operational range of at least 5,000 km, the Agni-5 missile, equipped with MIRV technology, extends its reach over numerous locations. This broader safety net places multiple locations within the missile's range, augmenting its strategic capabilities.

Global Context

Originally developed in the 1960s, MIRV technology is utilized by major global powers, including the US, UK, Russia, France, and China. The US was the pioneer in deploying MIRV technology in 1970, followed by the Soviet Union. Today, reports suggest that Israel is also actively working on developing this advanced technology.

Pre-Test Preparations

Ahead of the successful test, a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) alert was issued, designating a no-fly zone over the Bay of Bengal area. This precautionary measure hinted at India's planned missile test, which took place between March 11 and 16.

The successful integration of MIRV technology into the Agni-5 missile marks a transformative achievement for India's defense capabilities. This development enhances the nation's strategic position and underscores the prowess of DRDO scientists in advancing cutting-edge missile technologies.

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