About Prithvi missile

Prithvi is a tactical surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) developed by DRDO of India under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP). It is deployed by India's Strategic Forces Command.

The Government of India launched the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program in 1983 to achieve self-sufficiency in the development and production of wide range of Ballistic Missiles, Surface to Air Missiles etc. Prithvi was the first missile to be developed under the Program. DRDO attempted to build Surface-to-air Missile under Project Devil. Variants make use of either liquid or both liquid and solid fuels. Developed as a battlefield missile, it could carry a nuclear warhead in its role as a tactical nuclear weapon.

Prithvi I
Prithvi I class is a surface-to-surface missile having a maximum warhead mounting capability of 1,000 kg, with a range of 150 km (93 mi). It has an accuracy of 10 – 50 m and can be launched from transporter erector launchers. This class of Prithvi missile was inducted into the Indian Army in 1994. As Per (DRDO) Chief Avinash Chander the tactical 150 km-range Prithvi missile will be replaced with the Prahaar missile, which is more capable and has more accuracy.” According to Chander, the Prithvi I missiles withdrawn from service would be upgraded to be used for longer ranges.

Prithvi II
Prithvi II class is also a single-stage liquid-fuelled missile having a maximum warhead mounting capability of 500 kg, but with an extended range of 250 km (160 mi). It was developed with the Indian Air Force being the primary user. It was first test-fired on January 27, 1996 and the development stages were completed in 2004. This variant has been inducted into the army as well. In a recent test, the missile was launched with an extended range of 350 km (220 mi) and had improved navigation due to an inertial navigation system. The missile features measures to deceive anti-ballistic missiles.

Prithvi III
Prithvi III class is a two-stage surface-to-surface missile. The first stage is solid fuelled with a 16 metric ton force (157 KN) thrust motor. The second stage is liquid-fuelled. The missile can carry a 1,000 kg warhead to a distance of 350 km (220 mi) and a 500 kg warhead to a distance of 600 km (370 mi) and a 250 kg warhead up to a distance of 750 km (470 mi). Dhanush is a system consisting of a stabilization platform and the missile. It is a customized version of the Prithvi and is certified for sea worthiness. Dhanush has to be launched from a hydraulically stabilized launch pad. Its low range acts against it and thus it is seen a weapons either to be used to destroy an aircraft carrier or an enemy port. The missile has been tested from surface ships of the navy many times.

Special Features About Prithvi II Missile

  • Strategic Forces Command personnel test-fired the nuclear-weapons-capable Prithvi-II missile for a range of 250 km as against its full strike range of 350 km.
  • The missile regiment unit of the Command picked up a missile randomly from the production lot and launched it from a road mobile launcher around 9.15 a.m. for regular user training.
  • The surface-to-surface Prithvi-II missile is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1,000 kg of warheads.
  • It uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target.
  • The Prithvi-II could not be intercepted because of this “manoeuvring trajectory capability”.
  • The surface-to-surface missile is 9 meter-tall, single-stage liquid fuelled and is thrusted by liquid propulsion twine engines.
  • Prithvi-II, the first missile to be developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme of the DRDO, was inducted into the Command in 2003. It is now a proven technology.