Blast-off: 6 recent missile advances

Missiles have been prominent in the news lately, with India’s successful test, North Korea’s failed one, and much talk of missile defense systems in Europe and the Persian Gulf.  Here are six noteworthy missile-technology advances – three offensive, three defensive – revealed in recent weeks.

1. India's Agni-V

Indian Ministry of Defense/AP
This photo shows India's Agni-V missile, with a range of 3,100 miles, being launched from Wheeler Island off India's east coast, Thursday, April 19.

In a display that Indian officials said put their country "among the world's most powerful and scientifically advanced nations," India tested its first ballistic missile capable of reaching major Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai. The missile, the Agni-V, has a 3,000 mile range, can carry a 1.5 ton nuclear warhead, and is made almost entirely domestically, reports Reuters.

The Agni-V is seen as a deterrent to China’s growing strength in the region. Though it has a nuclear arsenal, India has not previously been able to target key sites in China like the capital, weakening its military and political leverage.

The Chinese government’s response has been staid, reports the BBC, with the foreign minister’s office calling India a "partner and not a rival." The Chinese press has openly mocked the missile test however, calling the Agni-V a “dwarf” and representative of "the backwardness of Indian missiles.”

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