Home Contact Us  


Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#2480, 31 January 2008
DRDO's Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme
Neha Kumar
Research Officer, IPCS
e-mail: neha@ipcs.org

India decided to scrap its Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) on 8 January 2008, and the government will not invest further in research and development of missiles under this program. One of its chief scientists, Dr. S Prahlada, said that this decision was taken because the missiles had either been developed or inducted into the armed forces. But, an evaluation of this program would make it clear that India has not been able to develop missiles adequate to strengthen its deterrence.

India started the IGMDP in 1983 to develop five missiles: Prithvi, Agni, Akash, Trishul and Nag for which the deadline was 1995. Government sanctioned Rs.389 crore for the project. Till 2007, only Prithvi and Agni are ready, despite a time overrun of 12 years. Apart from the Rs.389 crores spent, the completion of Agni and Prithvi projects required an additional Rs.1,770 crore. On the other hand, Pakistan is developing missiles with the help of China at a much faster pace. China is also modernizing its missiles for the last several years.

Prithvi was the first missile inducted into the Indian army. But it is a liquid fueled missile requiring special fuel tanks and complex fuel-injection systems involving high pressures, high speed pumps, high pressure valves, regulators, joints and pipes, combustion chambers, cooling and ignition systems which reduce the reliability of the system. Prithvi uses xylidine which is highly toxic, corrosive and non-storable. The CEP of Prithvi missile is 0.26 nm which is insufficient to target military installations. The CEP should be less than 0.1 nm to attack military installations.

DRDO has taken 26 years to develop three variants of the Agni missile. The successful testing of Agni-III was conducted on 12 April 2007 The Agni program has many shortcomings, apart from being very expensive. Agni-I is a two-staged missile with a combination of liquid-solid propulsion and a closed-loop inertial guidance system. The combination of solid and liquid propellants has made its deployment procedures difficult and clumsy, and it takes up to half a day to deploy the Agni-I missile. It is also difficult to deploy Agni-I in north and north-western India because of the presence of many bridges in Punjab and Rajasthan, which cannot bear its weight. DRDO faced a number of unsuccessful tests of the Agni-III before carrying out a successful test in 2006. Agni-III is the only missile capable of targeting Chinese cities. It has a range of 3500 km and CEP of 0.053 nm, which means it could be used to carry out counter value attacks on Chinese cities. But it has not yet been inducted into the Indian defense forces.

Akash is a medium-range, theatre defense, surface-to-air missile having a range of 27-30km. Akash was to have four missile batteries, costed at Rs. 9 billion in 1985, which has now escalated to Rs. 20 billion. The missile's radar, meant to detect enemy targets, covers only a 90-degree swathe. Therefore, it cannot track enemy aircraft approaching from different directions at the same time. Another problem is the limited speed of the missile, which is about Mach 3, useful to target enemy aircraft, but not enough for missiles, which travel at more than three times that speed.

Trishul has a range of 9km, and is designed to counter low level attacks with a very quick reaction time. The Trishul project was reviewed by the DRDO with the three services in October 2001. The missile system was found deficient for many reasons: One, the tracking radar beam was getting intermittent breaks, resulting in the missile missing the target by wide margins. Two, the BMP-II chassis did not meet the General Staff Qualitative Requirements for mobility, since it was too heavy.

There have been efforts by DRDO to build NAG, which is a third-generation anti-tank guided missile (AGTM), hardened against electronic counter measures, which employs an advanced seeker head to identify and lock onto targets up to 4km. But it is difficult to maintain the "lock in" technology in the presence of opposing mechanized forces due to factors like dust and smoke that disturb vision within the electromagnetic spectrum. There have also been problems with its night identification technology.

India's indigenous missile capability has failed to produce missiles to deter an enemy or to carry out an attack in conflict. India needs to look for foreign collaborators or involve the private sector in research and production of missiles. India has adopted a credible minimum deterrent policy; the key elements of a robust nuclear deterrent posture is that the country should have sufficient nuclear warheads, diversified nuclear delivery vehicles and a secure command and control structure to ride out a first nuclear attack and launch a second strike in retaliation. In the absence of reliable nuclear delivery vehicles, deterrence by India is in danger.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
US Anti-Satellite Weapon Test: Arms Race in Outer Space

India Ballistic Missile Defense Capabilities and Future Threats

Implications of Iran's Ashura Missile Test

Building of Missiles by Taiwan and Chinese Concerns

Tit-for-Tat Missiles Tests by India and Pakistan

Implications Of Russian Withdrawal From Arms Control Treaties

From MTCR to Confidence Building Measures

The Challenge of Cruise Missiles

Russia's Joint Radar Gamble

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 January  February
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.