Missiles Current Affairs - 2020

India successfully test fired Nuclear-Capable Agni IV missile

India successfully test-fired its nuclear-capable strategic ballistic missile Agni-IV, from a test range located at Wheeler Island, off the Odisha coast.

Test: The missile was supported by a mobile launcher. It was flight tested from the launch complex-4 of Integrated Test Range (ITR). The test was conducted by the specially formed Strategic Force Command (SFC) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

This test was the fourth trial of Agni-IV missile. The last trial was carried out successfully on 20th January 2014 from the same test range.

Key facts

  • Agni-IV is sophisticated surface-to-surface missile is equipped with modern and compact avionics to provide high level of reliability.
  • It has a strike range of about 4000 km.
  • It is equipped with state of the art Avionics, 5th generation On Board Computer and distributed architecture. It has the latest features to correct and guide itself for in-flight disturbances.
  • It is integrated with Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System (RINS) and supported by highly reliable redundant Micro Navigation System (MINGS), which ensures that missile hits the target within two digit accuracy.

At present India has arsenal of Agni-I, II and III and Prithvi missiles with strike reach of over 3000 km, giving an effective deterrence capability.

Nuclear capable Cruise Missile Nirbhay tested successfully

India successfully tested Nirbhay, India’s first indigenously designed and developed long range sub-sonic cruise missile. The missile was fired from the Integrated Test Range at Balasore, Odisha. Nirbhay maintained an accuracy better than 10 m throughout its path and covered a distance of more than 1000 km.

Indigenously developed missile

Nirbhay is made wholly of parts indigenously developed in India. It is powered by a solid rocket motor booster developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) and the launch was from a mobile launcher specifically designed for Nirbhay by the Vehicles R&D Establishment (VRDE). The missile was guided by a highly advanced inertial navigation system developed by Research Centre Imarat (RCI). The missile was tracked with the help of ground based radars, and the missile was monitored through telemetry stations by a team from DRDO and LRDE (Electronics & Radar Development Establishment).

Prior launch attempt

This was the second launch of Nirbhay. The maiden launch in March 2013 was a partial success achieving most of the mission objectives, but it had to be terminated for safety reasons due to malfunction of a component, after deviation from intended path was observed.


The 6 m tall, low altitude flying missile can evade detection by radars by flying at tree top level. I can strike targets that are more than 700 km away also and is capable of carrying nuclear warheads. It can also hover over targets, unlike other missile. It also has a fire and forget system which cannot be jammed by the enemy. Nirbhay fills a vital gap in India’s arsenal and is considered to be India’s answer to USA’s Tomahawk and Pakistan’s Babur missiles.

Aircraft-like missile

Nirbhay blasts off like a rocket, but then unlike a missile, it turns into an aircraft. Unlike other ballistic missiles like the Agni, it has wings and pronounced tail fins. After the launch, mid-flight, the rocket motor falls off and the small wings get deployed. At this juncture, a gas turbine engine kicks in and the missile’s conversion into a full aircraft is complete.