Friday, June 10, 2011

India Test-Fires Nuclear-Capable Prithvi-II Ballistic Missile

India successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear-capable Prithvi-II ballistic missile from the Integrated Test Range (ITR)at Chandipur in Orissa on 9 June as part of the user trial by the Army. The missile mounted on a mobile launcher was test-fired from the launch complex-3 in the ITR. With a maximum striking range of 350 km, the missile is capable of carrying a pay-load of 500-1000 kg warhead.
Salient Features
According to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Prithvi-II missile had proved its robustness and accuracy during many trials earlier. Taken from routine production lot during earlier users trials by the Army, the missile had achieved single digit accuracy reaching close to zero Circular Error Probability (CEP).
The missile, which has features to deceive any antiballistic missiles, had demonstrated flight duration of 483 seconds reaching a peak altitude of 43.5 km in 2008 users trial. Similarly, as a part of the operational exercises by Armed forces, two Prithvi-II missiles, aimed at two different targets at 350 km from launch point of ITR, at Chandipur were successfully launched within minutes of each other on 12 October 2009 and all the mission objectives were met.
The sleek missile once again proved its accuracy when the user, tried it in a salvo mode on 27th March and 18th June 2010 from Chandipur.
It was the fourth successful Prithvi-II flight within a period of eight months. The test firing of the surface-to-surface missile, which has already been inducted into Indian armed forces, was a routine trial conducted by the personnel of the Strategic Force Command (SFC).
India's prestigious IGMDP
Prithvi, the first ballistic missile developed under the country's prestigious Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP), is propelled by liquid propulsion twin engine.
With a length of nine meter and one meter diameter, Prithvi-II uses an advanced inertial navigation system with maneuvering trajectory. The entire trajectory of today's trial was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, electro-optic telemetry stations and ships launched in the down range impact point area in the Bay of Bengal for the post-launch analysis
Ambitious Strategic Missile
India finally plans to test its most ambitious strategic missile Agni-V, with near intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capabilities, this December after some delay. With high road mobility, fast-reaction ability and a strike range over 5,000km, Agni-V would even bring China's northernmost regions within its nuclear strike envelope if ever required.
The Armed Forces are already inducting the two-stage 3,500-km Agni-III after completion of its developmental and pre-induction trials last year, having earlier operationalized the Pakistan-specific Agni-I (700 km) and Agni-II (more than 2,000 km) missiles.
The Agni-V, in turn, is meant to add some much needed credible deterrence muscle against China, which has a massive nuclear arsenal with missiles like the 11,200-km Dong Feng-31A capable of hitting any Indian city.
For one, it will be quite easy to store and swiftly transport the 17.5-metre tall Agni-V by road since it's a canister launch missile system, unlike the earlier Agni missiles. If fired from the North-East, for instance, it would be able to hit China's city of Habin.
For another, Agni-V would also carry multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV) payloads being concurrently developed. A single MIRV-ed missile can deliver multiple warheads at different targets even if they are separated by long distances.

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