NEW DELHI — India plans to test launch the Agni V nuclear-capable, long-range missile in February 2012.

The Agni V is designed to hit a target up to 5,000 km (3,100 mi.) away. Scientists at the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) say the missile should be inducted into service by 2014.

“It is right on schedule, and the successful test of Agni IV will prove to be a building block in development of this missile,” DRDO chief V.K. Saraswat says, referring to the successful flight of the Agni IV on Nov. 15 (Aerospace DAILY, Nov. 16).

“Agni IV belongs to DRDO’s flagship program to make the country self-reliant in missile technology,” Saraswat says. “We have now graduated to a higher level of missile technology with more capable versions of the earlier missiles such as Agni I and Agni II.”

“The two [Agni IV and Agni V] will have similar technologies, though Agni V will [have] a three-stage propulsion system and Agni IV is a two-phase propulsion system,” Saraswat says.

The Agni V’s range is just 500 km short of that of an intercontinental ballistic missile. China has an ICBM that can reach any part of India, with a range of more than 11,000 km.

“Only the U.S., Russia and China have that capability at the moment. There is no other country with such a capability,” says Avinash Chander, the DRDO’s chief controller for missile systems.