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Prithvi-II in a strategic role


A Prithvi missile is displayed at the IAF Day Parade in New Delhi. Image Credit: PTI

Introduction

The Indian Ministry of Defence launched the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) between the early 1980s and 2007 for the development of a comprehensive range of missiles. Prithvi was the first missile to be developed under the Programme.

The Prithvi was India's first indigenously built ballistic missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It is a Surface-to-Surface short-range ballistic missile powered by a single-stage, two engines, and liquid-fuel.

Prithvi has three variants - Prithvi-I, Prithvi-II and Prithvi-III. Prithvi-I (150 km/1,000 kg) is currently in the Indian Army. Prithvi-II (250 km/500 kg) is in the Indian Air Force. Prithvi-III will apparently be the naval version of the missile.

Prithvi-II variant

The nine-metre tall Prithvi-II is a short-range, liquid propellant ballistic missile. It is a longer ranged, lower payload version of the Prithvi-I. This indigenously developed sophisticated missile, which has a strike range up to 350 km, is 9 metres in length, one metre in diameter and has a launch weight of 4,600 kg.

The missile 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 the target at an 80 degree angle. It can use both conventional and nuclear payload. The payloads are single warheads, weighing up to 500 kg.

It is believed to have been designed for battlefield use against troops or armoured formations. It has an inertial navigation guidance system on board, which enables it to stick to its trajectory. The missile also has the feature to deceive any anti-ballistic missiles.

India first tested the Prithvi-II on January 27, 1996. DRDO had developed three variants of Prithvi to meet the requirements of the Army, Air Force and Navy (Dhanush). The missile has already been inducted by the armed forces and is handled by the army units attached to the strategic force command's special group.

On 12th October, 2009, India again successfully test-fired in quick succession two nuclear-capable 'Prithvi-II' surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 350 km from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, about 15 km from Orissa.

In a nutshell, Prithvi-II of Prithvi series is a unique missile today having maneuverable trajectory and high level capability with field interchangeable warheads.

- Courtesy:
             DRDO
             Global Security website

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