MIRV TECHNOLOGY (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     12th March 2024        
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Context: The Vice-President of India extended his congratulations on the success of Mission Divyastra, the first flight test of the indigenously developed Agni-5 missile with Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV).


  • About: MIRVs represent a pinnacle in strategic military technology, transforming the capabilities of ballistic missile payloads.
  • The Birth of MIRV Technology: The United States' successful test of the Minuteman III in 1968 marked the inception of MIRV technology, with its deployment for actual use by 1970.
  • Enhanced Effectiveness and Survivability: MIRV innovation allows a single missile to carry multiple nuclear warheads, enabling several smaller warheads to replace a single larger one. 
  • This enhances the effectiveness and survivability of missile systems against anti-ballistic missile defenses.
  • Profound Strategic Shift: The strategic shift prompted by MIRVs has been profound, empowering nations to achieve greater target damage and reduce the effectiveness of enemy missile defense systems.
  • Altering the Landscape of Global Nuclear Deterrence: MIRV technology has fundamentally altered the landscape of global nuclear deterrence by providing nations with the means to enhance their offensive capabilities and diminish the effectiveness of defensive systems.

Agni-5 Missile

  • About: Agni is a long-range missile developed indigenously by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, DRDO.
  • Long-Standing Arsenal: The family of Agni missiles has been in the arsenal of the Indian armed forces since the early 1990s.
  • MIRV Technology Integration: This latest variant of the missile is equipped with what is known as MIRV (Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle) technology.
  • Rare Technological Capability: MIRV technology, first developed at least five decades ago, is possessed by only a handful of countries.
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