Ballistic missile Current Affairs - 2020

US tests Hypersonic Nuclear capable missile

On March 20, 2020, the United States successfully tested nuclear capable hypersonic missiles. The test challenges Russia’s missile testing capabilities. Recently, Russia tested a hypersonic weapon in December 2019 and China has already showcased its DF-17 hypersonic glide vehicle.

The glide vehicle flew at five times more than the speed of sound.

Anti-Ballistic Missiles Treaty

The United States has withdrawn from anti-ballistic missiles treaty. This has paved way for the country to conduct tests in Europe and Asia off the Russian coast.

Difference between Hypersonic and Ballistic Missiles

The trajectory of Hypersonic Missiles are not traceable. On the other hand, the trajectory of the Ballistic missiles are traceable.

Difference Between Hypersonic Cruise Missile and Hypersonic Glider Missiles

The trajectory of a Hypersonic Cruise Missile is placed at 20 to 30 km from the earth’s surface and that of the the Hypersonic Glider trajectory is placed at 40 to 100 km.

The three major powers US, Russia and China are currently the lead players of the arms race. The other powers are collaborating with them. Australia is teaming up with the US in March 8 HGV and India is with Russia in the March 7 HCM project.

Nuclear capable Agni-III ballistic missile fails in maiden night trial

The first night trial of long-range nuclear capable Agni-III surface-to-surface Ballistic Missile was carried out at Integrated Test Range (ITR) at APJ Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast. However, the Agni-III missile’s maiden night trial ended in ‘failure’. It is not the first failure of Agni series missile as in the past, two other variants of missile, Agni-I and Agni-II, have failed during both development and user trials.

Key Highlights

The Agni-III missile’s night trial failed as it tumbled into sea after first phase separation. The missile travelled around 115 km into its initial flight trajectory when things went wrong and deviated from flight path forcing mission team to terminate it midway.

The failure is being attributed to manufacturing defect in Agni missile after preliminary investigations, however, the exact technological fault behind ‘failure’ is yet to be ascertained which could be possibly due to metallurgical defects also.

The trial was conducted as part of user training exercise and was conducted by Indian Army’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) provided all logistic support.

The test was considered very crucial as it was to reconfirm technical parameters set for user and its readiness to handle weapon during night hours. The flight trajectory of missile was set for nearly 2,800 km.

About Agni-III Misslie

It is developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and has already been inducted in Indian armed forces in 2011. Missile range covers all major cities of Pakistan and China.

Features: The missile is propelled by two-stage solid propellant and is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads weighing up to 1.5 tonnes. Missile is 17 metres tall and has a diameter of 2-metre, it weighs around 50 tonne.