India is all set to test the Agni-V Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) in its final operational configuration for the fourth and final time before the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) begins its user trials.
According to the Times of India, the launch of the ICBM is expected to take place somewhere in late December or early January 2017 from the Integrated Test Facility at Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha.
The Agni-V is India's first ever ICBM, (a guided missile that can hit targets at least 5,500 kilometers away) and when it enters service, India will become only the sixth nation to have such a weapon in its arsenal.
While the exact range of the Agni-V is classified, Chinese missile experts claim the Indian ICBM has a range of 8,000 kilometers which means that it can hit the Chinese capital of Beijing, if that is ever required.
The Agni-V missile weighs 50 tons and 17.5 metres tall and has a diameter of two metres. The missile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that weighs 1,500 kilograms.
The Agni-V is a three-stage solid-fueled missile with composite motor casing in the second and third stage and is capable of hitting speeds of Mach 24 (29,635km/h) as it reaches its target.
However, what makes the Agni-V such a terrifying cause of migraines for India's enemies is the fact that it can make use of a mobile launch platform.
This means that the ICBM can be transported to almost any place in India and launched of road or rail vehicle like a truck or a train, making it all the more difficult for our enemies to track the 50 ton missile.
The Agni-V was test-fired in its canisterised form the last time India decided to test its ICBM in 2015. The missile was fired off the back of a Tatra truck and impacted near the pre-designated point in the Indian Ocean after a flight that lasted around 20 minutes.
The Agni-V is expected to go into service in 2017.
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