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.
"As part of user training exercises, the test was conducted by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Indian Army with logistics support from DRDO. The missile used for the test was picked randomly from the assembly line. Carrying a dummy payload, it covered the desired striking range and met all mission objectives successfully," said an official.
Defence sources said 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.
The missile, made from aluminum 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.
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.
It uses an inertial guidance system with good accuracy while the warhead uses a radar correlation terminal guidance system. It can hit mobile targets, including unmanned aerial vehicles.
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.