Strategic Forces Command

Strategic Forces Command
सामरिक बल कमान
Active 4 January 2003-present
Country  India
Branch Tri-service

The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) {Hindi: सामरिक बल कमान}, sometimes called Strategic Nuclear Command {Hindi: सामरिक परमाणु कमान}, forms part of India's Nuclear Command Authority (NCA). It is responsible for the management and administration of the country's tactical and strategic nuclear weapons stockpile.[1] It was created on January 4, 2003 by Vajpayee Government.[2] Air Marshal Teja Mohan Asthana became its first commander-in-chief.[3][4]


It is the responsibility of the Strategic Forces Command to operationalize the directives of the NCA under the leadership of a Commander-in-Chief who is a three-star rank officer. It will have the sole responsibility of initiating the process of delivering nuclear weapons and warheads, after acquiring explicit approval from the NCA. The exact selection of the target area shall be decided by the SFC through a calibrated, cumulative process involving various levels of decision-making, and with formal approval by the NCA.[3][4]

The SFC manages and administers all strategic forces by exercising complete command and control over nuclear assets, and producing all contingency plans as needed to fulfill the required tasks. Since its inception, the SFC’s command, control and communication systems have been firmly established, and the command has attained a high state of operational readiness.[5]


See also: nuclear triad

The Agni-I and Agni-II ballistic missiles are operational under the SFC,[6] while the Agni-III missile is being inducted.[7] The Hindu reported in September 2012 that Agni-III missiles were operational under the Strategic Forces Command and a user test of rail mobile Agni-III was carried out 21 September 2012.[8] The SFC carried out the second user trial of rail mobile Agni-III missile on 23 December 2013.[9] [10]

The Prithvi missile inducted into India’s Strategic Forces Command in 2003, the first missile to be developed under India’s prestigious IGMDP strengthens India’s nuclear deterrence A missile unit of the elite Strategic Forces Command (SFC) successfully launched a Prithvi missile on 07-January-2014 from the test range at Chandipur.[11]

It was reported by Hindustan Times on 12 September 2010 that to increase its lethal power, India's tri-services strike force is planning to acquire 40 fighter planes capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The SFC has submitted a proposal to the Defence Ministry for setting up two dedicated squadrons of fighter aircraft which will act as a mini-Air Force. This will be the first time that the SFC, which at present depends on the Indian Air Force for delivering nuclear weapons under its command, will have its own aerial assets.[12]

Indian land-based nuclear-armed ballistic missiles
Name Type
range (km)
Prithvi-I   Short-range 150 Deployed
Prithvi-II   Short-range 250-350
Prithvi-III   Short-range 350-600
Agni-I Short to medium-range 700-1,250
Agni-II Medium-range 2,000-3,000
Agni-III Intermediate-range   3,500-5,000
Agni-IV Intermediate-range 4,000 Tested successfully
Agni-V Intermediate to Intercontinental-range 5,000-8,000
Agni-VI Intercontinental-range (probable MIRV) 6,000-10,000 Under development
Surya Intercontinental-range Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) 8,000-12,000 Unconfirmed
Indian sea-based nuclear-armed ballistic missiles
Name Type
range (km)
Dhanush Short-range 350 Developed, but not deployed
Sagarika (K-15)   SLBM 700 Awaiting deployment on INS Arihant
K-4 SLBM 3,500 Tested [13]

See also


  1. "India all set to set up nuclear forces command". Times of India. Dec 30, 2002. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  2. "Nuke command set up, button in PM's hand". Times of India. Jan 4, 2003. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  3. 1 2 "Air Marshal Asthana to head Strategic Forces Command". Times of India. Jan 10, 2003. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  4. 1 2 "Indian Army wants sole right over post of Strategic Forces Commander". Zee News. 29 July 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  5. "Agni-I launched for the first time by Strategic Forces Command". Outlook India. Mar 23, 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  6. T.S. Subramanian, Y. Mallikarjun. "Agni-II soars in success". The Hindu.
  7. India Poised To Test Agni-V Missile
  8. Y. Mallikarjun. "Agni-III test-fired successfully". The Hindu.
  9. "Press Information Bureau".
  10. Y. Mallikarjun. "Agni-III test-fired by SFC personnel". The Hindu.
  11. "Prithvi Launch Successful".
  12. Strategic Command to acquire 40 nuclear capable fighters
  13. Press Trust of India (25 March 2014). "India test fires long range N-missile launched from under sea".
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