Surya Missile is an intercontinental ballistic missile under development by the DRDO for the use of the Indian Armed Forces. Surya Missile will be a four-stage intercontinental ballistic missile. Surya Missile will carry a massive three-tonne warhead, thrice the weight of the one-tonne warhead that Agni missiles have carried so far. This will allow each missile to launch several nuclear warheads -Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Warheads (MIRVs) – with each warhead striking a different target. Each warhead – called Maneuverable Reentry Vehicle (MARV) – performs evasive maneuvers while hurtling down towards its target, confusing enemy air defence missiles that are trying to destroy them mid-air. And these maneuverable warheads will give Agni VI an extended range exact figure of which is currently classified. It will be taller than its predecessor Agni V, and is expected to be flight tested by 2017. Agni-VI missile is likely to carry up to 10 MIRV warheads and will have a strike range of 8,000 km to 12,000 km.

Surya Missile Will be road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile Is underdevelopment phase by india’s defense research and organistaion (DRDO). first report about the Surya missile was published by The Nonproliferation Review in 1995, albeit the status remains unconfirmed as of 2012. with some report indicating that the development of this system was initiated in 1994, Conflicting reports regarding the Surya’s configuration claim that it will be based on the components of the polar space launch vehicle (PSLV) and the Agni IRBM.

Guidance system of Surya Missile will include inertial navigation system with Ring laser gyroscope, optionally augmented by IRNSS. Terminal guidance with possible radar scene correlation (this is a kind of terrain contour mapping this improves the accuracy of missiles).

One observer suggested “Surya” likely specifications are total weight 55,000 kgs, height 17-20 meters, 1.1 – 2.0 metre diameter, 3 stage rocket boosted. Launched from semi-hidden transporter erector launcher (TEL) truck, or disguised rail car. … The 10,000 km range would bring the capitals of three of the other major nuclear powers into range. Such a long range increases flexibility, important for deterrence. For political reasons India probably does not wish to talk about longer range ICBMs – with 13,000 km capable of reaching all nuclear powers…. India wishes the 10,000 km range missile, known as the Surya to have characteristics equal to (parity with) the latest ICBMs of India’s main nuclear opponent, China.
It is believed to have a top speed of Mach 25 or 30625 km per hour, and to be capable of M I R V (Thermo neuclear) delivery (up to 10) around 250 kilo ton.


India’s strategic community and the military have been clamouring for decades that to have bullet-proof security, India needs an ICBM that can reach every major country on the planet; that is, a missile with a range of at least 12,000 kilometre.
Now there are many people on the other side of the debate who question whether ICBMs are such a big deal. Their reasoning is that India’s furthest rival is China so there’s no need for a missile that travels further than that country. Plus, they argue, the US and Europe aren’t inimical to India so why provoke their ire by developing missiles that could potentially target these benign fellows?

Such thinking ignores a basic precept of defence – a nation must forever wage peace but keep its powder dry. ICBMs are strategic weapons and without a global-range missile, India will be unable to break out of its regional context. It’s as simple as that.

The ICBM is the doomsday weapon that separates the men from the boys in the global slugfest. While it is true that economic strength plays a key role in shaping international power equations, strategic missiles alone can guarantee fail-safe national security. As the Federation of American Scientists says, “Regardless of the origin of a conflict, a country may involve the entire world simply by threatening to spread the war with an ICBM.”

The supposedly horrendous cost of building and maintaining ICBMs is also touted as a reason why nations should avoid them. However, for decades China has strutted on the global stage on the strength of just 20 silo-based ICBMs. Today, of course, it has nuclear armed submarines and road mobile ICBMs, but those 20 venerable missiles have given it strategic parity with the US and Russia who both possess hundreds of missiles.

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Clearly, strategic missiles are one reason (the other being the permanent seat at the U N Security Council) why regional chipmunks like France and Britain continue to talk big whereas Germany and Japan despite their massive economies remain fringe players. Without a credible ICBM force, India will be looked upon as nothing more than a subcontinental bully – a country that aspires to play hardball with the giants but ends up relegated to the minor league.

Agni 5 an easy way to Surya Missile

Agni-5 India’s first China Centric ICBM recently turned 5 and also underwent its fourth and final test-firing last year and will now undergo at least two user-trials by the tri-service Strategic Forces Command (SFC) before it enters full-scale production and induction, which has lead to wide-scale speculation among Defence and Nuclear analysts worldwide on possible debut of Agni-VI pretty soon .
Agni-V is an intermediate range ballistic missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).it is the predecessor of Agni-6. In future, Agni-V is expected to feature Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRVs) with each missile being capable of carrying 2–10 separate nuclear warheads. Each warhead can be assigned to a different target, separated by hundreds of kilometers. Agni 5 can be easily upgrade to an ICBM with minor changes. Have a look how it is possible.

A major factor towards greater range would be the weight reduction in the 50-tonne Agni-5, as older, heavier sub-systems are replaced by lighter, more reliable ones, including many made with lightweight composite materials. A major development in this regard is the replacement of hydraulic actuators in the Agni-5’s giant first stage with the state-of-the-art, electro-mechanical actuators that already equip Stage-2 and Stage-3.

Moving from hydraulic to electro-mechanical actuators not only saves weight due to lightweight components, but also eliminates problems like oil storage and leakage, and the need for an accumulator. In addition, electro-mechanical actuators are more reliable and easy to maintain.

Surya Missile Capabilities

Multiple Warhead Technology

The MIRV capabilities were first deployed in the sixties by USA and the then Soviet Union, which in fact triggered a missile race in the world. However India is the last one to work on the development of such highly capable missile and can only be termed as a reactive program in a deterrent posture.

Presently all of the American submarine launched missiles are equipped with the MIRV capabilities whereas some of the Surface launched Ballistic missiles have a single warhead only.

The complex challenge ahead of DRDO in its quest to build India’s home grown MIRV capability will be the realization of a booster rocket that can nudge and navigate the warhead to its pre determined target with a high degree of precision. To improve the hitting range and warhead carrying capability of long range Indian missiles, DRDO would need to go in for the liberal use of improved, smart materials including carbon fibres as well as micro miniaturization of the systems going into the missile configuration.

Incidentally, the multiple warhead delivery enabled by a strategic missile is somewhat similar to the multiple spacecraft launch atop a single launch vehicle. As it is, India’s reliable, four stage space workhorse, Polar Satellite launch Vehicle (PSLV) has already proved its multiple launch capability. In April 2008, it had created a sort of history by placing in orbit as many as ten satellites in one go. But then coming to MIRV, the warhead re-enters earth’s atmosphere to hit the target. This implies that the guidance and navigation system of a missile should be highly accurate for hitting the target with unfailing precision. In a mission involving the launch of satellites, there is always a scope for “flexibility’ in that there is invariably a clear room for minor deviation in orbital injection. For the orbital position of a satellite can be fine tuned after the launch. But that is not the case with MIRV. Clearly, in the case of MIRVed missile, there is no room for flexibility normally associated with a satellite launch. Thus a big challenge ahead of DRDO would be to develop a highly sophisticated navigation and guidance system.

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Agni-V definitely heralds the beginning of the coming of age for India in terms of very long range payload delivery capability that is reliable, accurate and survivable. Significantly, Agni-V makes use of the contemporary guidance package that utilizes an indigenous ranging laser gyroscope inertial navigation system (RLG-INS) coupled with a micro inertial navigation system (MINGS). Both these systems are designed to receive multi constellation updates from a variety of satellite navigation systems. Sometime in the future,
DRDO also plans to modify Agni-V so that it can also serve as a launch vehicle to orbit light weigh satellite payloads in quick succession and on demand. For such an alternate capability is a vitally essential to meet the satellite launch requirements during the moments of crisis.

The Agni range of missiles developed by India can meet the nuclear deterrence needs of the country under a variety of situations. Agni-1 can cover a distance of 700-km, Agni-II 2000-km, Agni III 2500-kms and Agni-IV 35,00-km.

The Surya Missile would prove to be a game changer on the Chess Board in which the two Asian giants are gradually positioning their pawns to checkmate the other side effectively. This would help India rise from a regional power to a global power.

Greater Range

What is of great interest for the strategic observers is that range of missile might go up to the range of 10,000 kms as stated in the appointment letter of Dr Avinash Chander, the capability would for the first time can engage any target based even at Europe and many of US strategic assets situated worldwide.

The entire Chinese landmass would be covered by this forthcoming ICBM, supposedly to be named as Surya, the exact nomenclature has long been denied by MoD and the DRDO officials.

The Surya missile would thus give India a Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) capability and bring some kind of strategic parity with China in a very asymmetric ICBM capability. China is reported to possess more than 400 ICBMs and is deployed in various directions, whereas, India’s strategic missile program is directed mainly towards China with which India has long standing border and territorial dispute and in the environment of asymmetric unconventional warfare, theSurya Missile would give a moral strength to Indian armed forces and can dare to challenge the Chinese forces on the 4000 kms long Line Of Actual Control.

After Indian press made proud claims of being able to hit China through the Agni-5 missile, Global Times, the Chinese English daily commented “India should not overestimate its strength. Even if it has missiles that could reach most parts of China that does not mean it will gain anything from being arrogant during disputes with China. India should be clear that China’s nuclear power is stronger and more reliable. For the foreseeable future, India would stand no chance in an overall arms race with China.”

Thus the Chinese daily, which is considered to be the mouth piece of the Chinese Communist Party, through which the party sends a subtle message to international community, has indirectly indicated they have taken note of India’s Agni-5 ICBM with MIRV development program.

But in real sense the Surya Missile with range of 12000 Km will herald India in the super power league of countries possessing the very long range Inter continental Ballistic Missile with multiple warheads and will definitely act as a deterrent to any power on earth, however mighty that power may be.

In the context of India facing the prospect of fighting a two front war, there is an imminent need to accelerate development of a full fledged ICBM. Moreover, a well proven ICBM capability is crucially vital for India to be recognised as a global super power. Of course, both Agni-V and Agni-VI are being looked on as ICBMs. But then in the conventional strategic thinking, only a missile with a range of 10,000-km plus is counted as a full fledged ICBM. And India should not vacillate in taking up the challenge of developing a family of ICBMs with 10,000-km plus range.







Sourcece:- Ajai Shukla, Strategic Affairs, India Tube

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