Indian Missile Programs


Designation Range Payload First Launch Operational Inventory
Prithvi 150 km
250 km
1,000 kg
500 kg
25 Feb 1988 1995 75+
Sagarika 250-300 km 500 kg     none
Dhanush 300-350 km 500 kg     none
Agni 2,500 km 1,000 kg May 1989 2000+ none
Surya 12,000 km kg - - none

Chronology of Indian Missile Development


India begins a space-research and satellite-launch program. By 1972, the Rohini-560 two-stage, solid fueled, sounding rocket is test-fired. The Rohini-560 could reach an altitude of 334km with a 100kg payload. 


The Satellite Launch Vehicle SLV-3 space booster is launched for the first time. 


The 35kg Rohini-1 satellite is successfully launched into near-Earth orbit. 


The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) announces its Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP). The IGMDP will seek to develop five missile types:  

  • The Prithvi, surface-to-surface,  single-stage, liquid-fuel ballistic missile. 
    •      Prithvi-1 (150km range/1,000kg payload) - army version 
    •      Prithvi-2 (250km range/500kg payload) - air force version 
    •      Prithvi-3 (350km range/500kg payload) - naval version 
  • The Agni surface-to-surface ballistic missile, with a range of 1,500km. It is capable of delivering a 1,000kg warhead. It is a two-stage missile which uses the solid-fuel booster motor of the SLV-3 for its first stage and the liquid-fuel Prithvi for its second stage. 
  • The Akash long-range surface-to-air ramjet missile that can carry a 55 kg warhead. It is capable of targeting five aircraft simultaneously at a maximum range of 25km. 
  • The Trishul short-range surface-to-surface or surface-to-air missile. It has a range of 50km and uses radar line-of-sight guidance. Trishul is powered by a two-stage solid rocket motor. 
  • The Nag fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). It employs sensor fusion technologies for flight guidance over an approximate range of 4km.  

India begins flight testing an Advanced Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV). 
The ASLV (4,000km range/150kg payload in low-Earth orbit) consists of three SLVs strapped together.  


The Prithvi is test-fired.  

India announces development of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) (8,000km-range/1,000kg payload) to place a one-ton satellite in polar orbit. The PSLV could be capable of delivering a nuclear warhead over intercontinental ranges if re-engineered as a weapon system.  


India test-fires the Agni. 

The Nag is test-fired in November. 


Initial production of the Prithvi-1 may have begun in mid-1994. The Indian Army orders 100 Prithvi-1 missiles, to be deployed with its 333rd Missile Group.  


The Akash is reported to be undergoing user trials.  

India reports that it is developing a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). In 1/96, Russia is scheduled to begin delivery of seven cryogenic engines for the GSLV.  


India's new government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), plans to "build nuclear weapons and accelerate production of long-range missiles to deliver them." The BJP plans to increase production of the Prithvi missile and expedite development of the Agni intermediate-range ballistic missile. 

Senior Clinton administration officials in the United States report on 4/27/98 that India has a sea-launched ballistic missile named Sagarika. The Sagarika has a range of 200 miles, is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, and will be launched from a submerged submarine. 

India successfully test-fires the Trishul on 5/11/98. The Trishul can be employed as a surface-to surface or surface-to-air missile. India describes the Trishul as having a "triple role" capability.