Top nuclear missiles of the world

This article provides information of nuclear missiles which are superior. This is a comparison write-up between other missiles and Agni-5 of India. The top submarine launched nuclear missiles are discussed along with the most ranged missiles of top countries in the nuclear missile elite club. This resource will also help in knowing the reason of backwardness of India in missile technology when compared with other countries.


India has test fired its Agni-5 on 15 September 2013. This is the second test fire after its first fire on 19 April 2013. Several countries have missiles and this article provides the information regarding those missiles.

Top missiles of the countries

United States has missile named Minuteman III. This missile covers the range of 13,000 km. The length of this missile is 18.2 m and launch weight is 34,500km. It is assumed by various countries that United States has 500 Minute man III missiles in its arsenal and lifetime of these missiles can be up to year 2020. It is also known that Minute Man IV can replace the existing stockpile. Russia has RS-24 a nuclear capable missile with the range of 10,500 km. It can lift the 1200 kg payload. Its total mass at the launch is 47,200 kg. This missile can carry four to six warheads. China has DF-5A as its intercontinental Ballistic missile. The range of DF-5A ICBM is 13,000 km. It can lift the payload of 3,200kg. These are the top missiles of nuclear capable countries. There are other missiles which can be sent from submarines. Let us have a look at these missiles once. United States has Trident D-5, a missile which can be launched from submarines with a range of 12,000km and can take away payload of 2,800 kg. Russia too has such RSM-56 Bulava, a submarine launching missile with the range of 8,000 – 10,000 km and its specialty is that it can carry ten warheads. China has also improved JL-2 submarine missile with the range of 8,000 km. France deploys missiles related to the submarines only. It has M-51 with the range of 8,000km. The missile M-51 can hold 6 warheads. Coming to the Britain, it uses American missiles as it partners the development of missiles with United States. It uses submarine launching missiles too.

The nuclear missile club includes United States, China, Russia, France and United Kingdom. India has freshly joined after its first trial of long range intercontinental ballistic missile. Agni-5 was first test fired on 19 April 2012. This helped India join this elite club of long range nuclear capable missile countries. Coming to India, it has test fired Agni-5 for second time on 15 September 2013. Agni5 has range of 5,000 kms far below than elite group. Agni 5 length is 17.5 m and diameter is around 2 m. The weight of this nuclear missile is 50,000kg. It has an engine of three stage solid fuel. The canister, launch system, updated gyroscope and accelerometer are used in this missile and MIRVs used to strike more than once. India has become sixth country to have long range nuclear capable ballistic missiles after five countries. It is assumed that probably Israel may have this technology. However, it is perspicuous that India is far behind of above stated countries and there is a long way to go.

Reasons for backwardness of India in missile technology

Internal reasons of India

India is filled with the internal problems i.e. poverty, unemployment etc. First after independence, India has to target these areas and have to keep most part of its budget to agriculture, irrigation, power etc. During the British rule, India's wealth was drained. During these years India could not achieve scientific development and could not grow much in other areas too as interests are varied. India has taken the new birth and has to start from the beginning without the external help due to several hurdles. After independence also, India could not take stance towards America or Russia, but non alignment is chosen.

Sanctions on India

As India has chosen middle path of non alignment, it could not gain the help of United States which was so forward in technology. India indigenously developed various technologies and proved itself. The nuclear tests occurred twice led to sanctions and restrictions on India made not touch few areas due to paucity of material and funds. Thus transfer of technology was not possible and India itself had to manage and self grow. That is the reason it took so much time for India to achieve. The gap of nuclear research when compared to others, is part of the result of sanctions imposed by United States of America. However, United States recently lifted sanctions and getting ready to provide nuclear technology for peaceful use and ready for opening of defense technology to India soon.

Not concentrating on defense

After independence, India thought of peaceful co existence and imagined that there was no need to go for wars as long as we live peacefully. So, there is no need of pouring the money into worthless warheads. The earlier leadership has not concentrated more on defense. This led to nonchalance and could not develop any important invention. But, during Indira Gandhi period saw the reform and Integrated Guided Missile Development programme was started. Thus the leadership vision now is being seen in the form of Agni 5. It is not the effort of one year, but the effort of more than thirty years to bring out the Agni5. Agni5 is still in laboratory mode and it has to be provided to army and it will be induced in 2014 after few trials.

Insufficient Budget

Even though India is keeping aside the good part of budget for defense, it is relatively lees when compared with top defense countries. India is involved with more human but developed are filled with missile treasures. Once, nuclear bombs were to be released through army aircrafts like Little Boy and Fat Man which are hurled on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9 respectively. But now are automatic and can be sent easily. Laser guided bombs are in war fields. Missiles are easily sent without any intervention. In detail, radar may not recognize the missile. To develop such there needs to be more money. Indian budgets' most of the part may go for salaries and less is to go for research and development.

Failure in utilizing the resources

India has rich human resources but policies are not viable to utilize them. China is utilizing the available resources but India lacks it in its will and in its policies. This is where India has to look after. Youth are to be taken into science streams and jobs. Caste system is a hurdle and resultant reservation system is marring the opportunities of merit people.


India must know the urgency of improving its science and technology and especially which deals with warfare. It should not be forgotten that maximum deterrence should be worn to send the warning to opponents, but not to enrage to the war. It is good to have weapon but should not use it to harm but to defend. It is the motto of India. India is clear in its stand of no first use on non nuclear states. If all the world is to shun nukes, India is also ready for that act, but it cannot be devoid of weapon in this weapon clad world.


Author: Umesh Chandra Bhatt21 Jul 2021 Member Level: Gold   Points : 4

India has given much thrust to the defense sector and it is being noticed by the other countries also. We are going for all sorts of modern weapons and our neighboring countries have already felt the heat out of it. Today India is being seen as an emerging power in the South East Asia and soon we will be having the latest missiles and other weapons in our armory. India is presently having only one SSBN in INS Arihant, with 750-km range K-15 nuclear missiles but that scenario would soon change with more accretions in this area.

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