india Agni-1

Agni 1 (Jane's Strategic Weapon Systems)
Originated From:India
Possessed By:India
Length:14.80 m
Diameter:1.30 m
Launch Weight:12,000 kg
Payload:Single warhead, 2,000 kg
Warhead:Nuclear 20 or 45 kT, HE, submunitions, FAE
Propulsion:Single-stage solid propellant
Range:700-1,200 km
In Service:2004

The Agni-1 is a short-range, road/rail-mobile, solid propellant ballistic missile. Falling between the short-range and medium-range categories, it fills the gap between India’s Prithvi systems and the Agni-2. 1 It was developed after the Agni-2, and borrows from its sister’s design. The Agni-2 uses a two-stage motor platform, while the Agni-1 uses only a single stage motor which is based on the first-stage motor of the Agni-2 platform. It has a shorter range but a heavier payload than the Agni-2. 2

The Agni-1 is 14.8 m long, 1.3 m in diameter, with a launch weight of 12,000 kg. It has a range of 700 km with an impressive accuracy of 25 m CEP at a range of 860 km. By reducing the payload, the Agni-1 will most likely be able to extend its range to 1,200 km, a distance which encompasses all of Pakistan. Its maximum payload of 2,000 kg can be equipped with a 20 or 45 kT nuclear warhead, or with conventional explosives. 3 The 20 kT warhead is larger than those used against Japan during WWII, although by modern standards this warhead is more appropriate for use against military targets.

The Agni-1 is designed to be launched from Transporter-Erector-Launcher (TEL) vehicles, either road or rail-mobile. This mobility will allow India to position and fire the Agni-1 during rapidly changing military situations. In addition, the missile has a relatively high accuracy, due to the fact that it combines an inertial guidance system with a terminal phase radar correlation targeting system on its warhead. 4

Development of the Agni-1 began in 1999 and the missile was first tested in January 2002 from a TEL vehicle at the Interim Test Range on Wheelers’ Island off India’s eastern coast. American reports suggest that this first test was a failure – though some authorities say otherwise 5 – but subsequent tests have been successful. 6 Test firings were made in January 2003, July 2004, October 2007, March 2008, and March 2010. Dr. V. K. Atre, head of the Defence Research Development Organization (DRDO), recently stated that all technical parameters set by the Army had been “fully met.” 7 Military sources indicate the missile is currently in production at a consistent rate, and that full scale production was approved in August 2004. The latest successful test launch occurred in July 2012. 8

Last Updated 9/20/2012

  1. Global Security. “Weapons of Mass Destruction (See India, missile programs).” June 24, 2011. (accessed September 20, 2012).
  2. Lennox, Duncan. “Agni 1/2/3/4/5.” Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Offensive Weapons). August 13, 2011. (accessed September 12, 2012).
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. “Agni I,” a project of Bharat Rakshak, available at, accessed on 16 July 2010.
  7. Rahul Bedi, “New Delhi Successfully Tests Agni 1A Missile,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, 14 July 2004.
  8. The Times of India. “Agni-1 Test Fired from Wheeler Island.” July 14, 2012. (accessed September 20, 2012).
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