Does India have MIRV (missiles)? If they are in making, then what is the status?

India is also working on multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs). MIRVs would allow the missile to evade enemy missile defence system. Many sceptics are of the view that MIRVs would jeopardise the strategic stability between India and Pakistan. However, it must be noted that Pakistan is also developing MIRVs. Strategic stability is not jeopardised when two rival states possess similar capabilities; that is when parity is maintained between the two rival states. Strategic stability is jeopardised when one of the rival states possesses a weapon isystem while the other does not.

However, MIRV technology is not easy to develop and China struggled for years to miniaturise nuclear warheads to develop MIRV technology. Even the erstwhile Soviet Union and the United States took almost two decades to master the technology of nuclear warhead miniaturisation.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been working on the technological requirements. For instance, the Agni-V has a diameter of two meters that could make them capable of carrying MIRVs. In fact, according to reports, not just Agni-V, but missiles like the Agni-III are also being made capable of carrying MIRVs. However, it is not just the diameter of the missile system that would only matter, but the missile would also need a post-boost control vehicle that could act as a platform to release these multiple warheads.

This would not be a very difficult task as the Agni-II already possesses post-boost vehicle (PBV) integrated to its re-entry vehicle. The PBV not only allows to carry penetration aids but also improves the accuracy of the missile. Most countries pursuing advanced missile technology programme like the United States, France, and Russia use PBV on their ICBMs for enhanced accuracy. The MIRVs are probably one of the reasons why the actual range of the Agni-V is greater than 5,000kms as these technologies are believed to have adverse effect on the range of the missile and can reduce the range of the missile drastically.

India has recently tested several successful launch of the high technology based and next generation Agni-5 ICBM missile (5500-8000 kilometer). it is believed to be that long range Agni-5 ICBM strategic missile can carry three MIRV warheads simultaneously and it is designed to carry the maximum of 350 kiloton capable of nuclear warheads. Agni-5 can definitely cover the largest part of China, including the entire area of Pakistan. Nuclear warheads capable Agni-5 ICBM missile has already handed over and been deployed by the to the strategic missile forces units of India.

If true, India would indeed join the elite club of the first five ‘Nuclear Haves’ countries—the US, Russia, China, UK and France—which also possess MIRV warheads in their respective nuclear arsenals. It would also greatly enhance the country’s nuclear deterrence capability.

The advantage of iIndia acquiring MIRV technology is many fold.

  1. Technology demonstration:MIRV missiles are a great technology demonstrators for re entry vehicles.
  2. Deterrence:Imagine a MIRV being fired from a nuclear submarine.The chances of preventing the missile from hitting the target are pretty slim. Possessing such technology makes our foes to think twice before resorting to nuclear first strike on India.
  3. Ballistic missile shields: missile shields such as Iron dome of Israel intercept the missiles before they reaching the targets.China i guess is working on such anti ballistic missile shield. So in order to mitigate the chances of our missile being intercepted , MIRVs along with decoy missiles are used together.This would greatly reduce their effectiveness.



Source:-  Debalina Ghoshal, Security Analyst @ForceMagazine

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