India today said it is developing a long-range nuclear-capable Agni-VI ballistic missile that would carry multiple warheads allowing one weapon system to take out several targets at a time.

“Agni-V is major strategic defence weapon. Now we want to make Agni-VI which would be a force multiplier,” DRDO Chief V. K. Saraswat said here.

Refusing to divulge the range of the new under-development missile, he said the force multiplier capability of the missile would be because of its Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) capability.

The Agni-5 ballistic missile, which was test-fired in April last year, has a range of up to 5,500 km and it is believed that the Agni-6 would have a range longer than its predecessor.

“It will have force multiplier capability by the MIRV approach which would enable us to deliver many payloads at the same time using only one missile.

“Work is on in this area and designs have been completed. We are now in the hardware realisation phase,” he said.

DRDO officials said once the Agni-6 is developed, it would propel India into the elite club of nations with such a capability, including the US and Russia.

The DRDO chief said his organisation was also working towards developing a cruise missile defence programme which would enable the armed forces to defend against low-flying cruise missiles and enemy aircraft.

(This article was published on February 8, 2013)
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