India on Friday successfully test-fired the land version of the short range surface–to–surface ballistic missile Prithvi-II from a defence base off Odisha coast.
Defence sources said that it was mounted on a Mobile Tatra transporter-erector Launcher (MTL). The indigenously built ballistic missile Prithvi-II was fired from the launching complex – III (LC-III) of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea at about 9.50 am.
The 9-metre-high and one-metre-thick missile, with a launch weight of 4.6 tonnes, developed by DRDO, has a strike range of up to 350 km. Powered by liquid propellant, Prithvi-II can operate with both liquid as well as solid fuel, Defence sources said.
The trial of the sophisticated missile was successful and the mission objectives were met, official sources said.
The missile was randomly chosen from the production stock and the entire launch activities were carried out by the specially formed strategic force command (SFC) and monitored by the scientists of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of training exercise, a defence scientist said.
The missile, made from aluminium alloy and with its wings fashioned from magnesium, has been inducted into the 333-missile regiment of the Indian Army. This missile has the capability to carry a payload of up to 1,000 kg but if the same was reduced by half, the striking range could be enhanced.
Sources said there was plan for two trials of Prithvi-II in quick succession. However, after the successful trial of the first one, the second trial was abandoned due to technical problem, they said.
A similar twin trial was conducted on October 12, 2009 from the same base where both were successful.
In November, 2016, two Prithvi-II missiles were successfully test fired from the same base. The missile was inducted into the Indian Armed forces in 2003 after the organisation developed it under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programe, the sources reported.
The Prithvi-II missile is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1,000 kg of warheads and is propelled by liquid propulsion twin engines. It uses advanced inertial guidance system with maneuvering trajectory to hit its target with precision and accuracy.
- Prithvi-II is the first missile to be indigenously developed by the DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.
- Range: It is surface-to-surface medium range ballistic missile with strike range of 350 km. Warheads: It is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1000 kg of conventional as well as nuclear warheads.
- Fuel and stages: It is single-stage liquid-fueled. It uses advanced inertial guidance system along with maneuvering trajectory to hit its target precisely.
- It already has been inducted into India’s armed forces in 2003.
- Variants: Prithvi-I for the Indian Army, Prithvi-II for the Indian Air Force, and Dhanush Missile for Indian Navy.
The Prithvi missile can be taken close to the forward line over any kind of terrain. It has been designed to deliver advanced conventional warheads deep into enemy territory. The missile stops climbing when it reaches an altitude of 30 km and dives towards the target at an 80 degree angle.
“The missile trajectory was tracked by the DRDO radars, electro-optical tracking systems and telemetry stations located along the coast of Odisha,” sources said.
The downrange teams on board the ship deployed near the designated impact point in the Bay of Bengal monitored the terminal events and splashdown.
The missile packs a punch and is capable of inflicting heavy damage to forward airfields and destroy mechanised forces held back as reserves. Prithvi was first test tested in 1988 and inducted into the armed forces in 2003. At present, nearly 30 missiles are manufactured each year for all versions of the Prithvi.