India has already conducted seven trials of the missile, which has a range of over 5,000 kilometres

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Thursday denied reports of a possible test-flight of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Agni-V. Sources have told India Today TV that no test of the nuclear-capable missile is being conducted.

The latest development comes weeks after the DRDO handed over Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) System to the Indian Air Force (IAF). The Agni-V test in the coming days could indicate an early induction of the system into the armed forces.

The test, which could be conducted in October, has already been delayed. It was supposed to take place in 2020 but was deferred due to Covid-19. The missile will be tested with Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRV).

The Agni-V ICBM has been developed by DRDO and Bharat Dynamics Limited. It weighs close to 50,000 kilograms. The missile is 1.75 meters tall with a diameter of 2 metres. A 1,500-kilogram warhead will be placed on top of the three-stage rocket boosters that are powered by solid fuel.

Scientists have said that at its fastest the ICBM will be 24 times faster than the speed of sound travelling 8.16 kilometres per second, achieving a high speed of 29,401 kilometres per hour.

The missile is equipped with a ring laser gyroscope inertial navigation system (NavIC) that works with satellite guidance. The missile is capable of hitting its target with pinpoint precision. It can be launched from mobile launchers.

The missile is programmed in such a way that after reaching the peak of its trajectory, it turns towards the earth to continue its journey to the target with an increased speed, due to the earth's gravitational pull.

Its path is precisely directed by the advanced onboard computer and inertial navigation system. As the missile enters the earth's atmosphere, the atmospheric air rubbing its outer surface skin raises the temperature to beyond 4,000 degrees Celsius.

However, the indigenously designed and developed heat shield maintains the inside temperature at less than 50 degrees Celsius.

India has already conducted seven trials of the missile, which has a range of over 5,000 kilometres — with China raising concern over the tests. The first successful test of the Agni-V was conducted on April 19, 2012. Successive tests were conducted on September 15, 2003, January 31, 2015, December 26, 2016, January 18, 2018, June 3 2018, and December 10, 2018.

The first two flights of Agni-5 in 2012 and 2013 were in an open configuration. The third, fourth and fifth launches were from a canister integrated with a mobile launcher, which enables the launch of the missile in a shorter time as compared to an open launch.

During the last trial in 2018, the flight performance of the missile was tracked and monitored by radars, tracking instruments and observation stations.