Bharat:Indigenous Defense Development
Post on 17,November 2012   1:40 AM
By - Mrs. Pallavi Kumari
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It was in early 1980s, the progressive and ambitious Prime Minister Indira Gandhi along with R. Venkataraman (Defense minister) and his scientific advisor VS Arunachalam, looking that Indian scientists have gathered enough competence in rocket science (propulsion and navigation), took initiative to start a program to integrate these technologies in the name of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP).

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam who had established his excellence in SLV 3 development program for ISRO and he later become President of INDIA, was appointed as DRDL director in 1983 to lead IGMDP. There were four projects inducted in the program:


  • Prithvi: A surface to surface short range missile.
  • Akash: A surface to air missile-medium range.
  • Nag: An Anti tank missile.
  • Trishul: A Surface to air missile-short range.


Agni missile was also part of this program but was separated after Agni I was successfully test fired in 1991. Indian government agreed to provide separate budget for Agni due to its strategic importance.

Looking at the ambitious and aggressive progress of the program India was restricted to procure main components for making a missile by the ‘Missile Technology Control Regime’. (An informal group of 7 nations; US, UK, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Canada; Established in 1987) But the team Decided not to give up and develop these materials, components and sub-systems themselves. So with the help from DRDO lab and Institutes they developed everything, without any outside help, indigenously; though it took longer time but gave an in-satiable thirst to the scientist to develop and develop even more.

8th Jan 2008 is marked as completion date for the program. Calling it “successful” would not even suffice to justify the work and energy went into this mission. These are developed and tested to pin-point accuracy; best in their category.  Indian Armed Forces have inducted most of these missiles.


The Prithvi (पृथ्वी, Earth) missiles are surface to surface ballistic missile with short range. Its design and development started in 1983. It was first Ballistic Missile which was developed 100% in INDIA. In 1988 its first test took place in Shriharikota. These missiles are developed to be Tactical weapon during war-time with a range of 150-350 Km, capable of carrying nuclear warhead as well. Also these are developed to be used by all three armed forces. The naval variant is termed as Dhanush. 8.55 m long single stage liquid or both (solid and liquid) fuel propelled missiles have been already included to for use.


The Agni (अग्नि; Fire) missiles are Surface-to-surface ballistic missiles; medium range to intercontinental range. These missiles are designed to be strategic weapon capable of carrying nuclear warhead as well as conventional. They are propelled by solid fueled which makes them swifter in case of needed retaliation. The Agni V and VI are capable of multiple reentry vehicles (MIRV), it means that they can destroy more than one target at a time and amplify the damage to a bigger area. So far there are 6 variants:

Agni I


700-1200 km

Single stage

Operational -2002

Agni II


2000-3000 km

Two and half stage

Operational – 1999

Agni III


3500-5000 km

Two Stage

Operational – 2011

Agni IV


3000-3500 km

Two Stage


Agni V


5500-5800 km

Three stage


Agni VI


8000-10000 km

Three stage

Under development



AkashThe Akash (आकाश, sky) is a surface-to-air medium range missile. I came out to be one of the most missile project (120 M US $). With a range to 30 km, speed of Mach 2.5, ramjet propulsion system which will maintain the speed; it can intercept an aircraft as high as 18 KM. It is Radar-guidance system which can work though any jamming or electronic countermeasures.


The Nag (नाग, cobra) is an Anti-tank missile designed for top attack equipped with HEAT (High explosive anti-tank) warhead, which enables to penetrate though toughest armor. It’s a ‘fire-and-forget’ generation three, all weather missile with range 3 km to 7 km.


The Trishul (त्रिशूल, trident) is a surface-to-air with short range of 9-12 km capable of attacking low-level targets (sea skimming) in all weather conditions. It is designed for quick reaction (as fast as 6 second from detection to launch) to helicotors and fighter jets with speed less than 500 m/s (~mach 1.5)


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