Dhanush, the ship-based anti-surface missile was successfully launched from a naval vessel, INS Subhadra in the Bay of Bengal, off the Orissa coast on Sunday. The missile was fired by Indian Navy personnel as part of user training exercise.

The nuclear-capable Dhanush is a naval version of Prithvi and was test-fired at 11.35 hrs. It flew over a range of 350 km and splashed down at the target point in the Bay of Bengal with “pin-point accuracy”, according to Defence Research & Development Organisation sources. The missile followed the pre-designated trajectory with text-book precision and two naval ships located near the target have tracked the splash.

The sources said that the 350-km range missile met all the velocity, height and guidance parameters. Radar systems of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) located along the coast have monitored the entire trajectory of the vehicle which flew for 520 seconds before zeroing on to the target with a CEP (circular error probability) of under 10 metres.

The single stage missile is powered by liquid propellants. It is 10-metre long and weighs six tonnes. It has one metre diameter and can carry 500 kg warhead.

Scientific adviser to Defence Minister V.K.Saraswat, who is also the Director-General DRDO, Major General (retd) P.C. Karbanda, who is Deputy National Security Adviser and Rear Admiral C.S.Patham, who is Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Strategic Forces Command were aboard INS Subhadra to witness the launch.

DRDO sources said that there would be two more flight tests of the nuke-capable Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile Agni-II ( 2,000 km plus range) in the coming months to overcome the failure of the missile in its previous two flights in May and November 2009. The sources added that during its last test in November, Agni-II had a problem at the time of ignition of the second stage. Its flex nozzle too did not function properly. Similar problem with flex nozzle occurred during the first Agni-III ( 3,500 km range) flight in July 2006.

The DRDO will test-fire K-15 ( underwater missile) from a submerged pontoon and its land version ‘ Shaurya’ in the coming months.

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