Prithvi-II missile was successfully test-fired on Thursday by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Services from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Odisha. The surface-to-surface missile, which can be armed with nuclear warheads, travelled its full range of 350 km before plunging into the Bay of Bengal. It carried conventional explosives.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) developed the single-stage missile for the Air Force for deep interdiction. It can carry a payload weighing between 500 kg and 1,000 kg depending on the range for which it is launched. It is equipped with sophisticated navigation system.
The Army is already armed with this missile, which uses liquid propellants.
For Thursday’s launch, the SFC picked up a Prithvi-II missile from the production lot and fired it from a road-mobile launcher. The launch was part of training for the SFC to fire strategic missiles at short notice. The SFC did all the launch operations guided by the DRDO missile technologists.
Several radars and electro-optical tracking systems, located along the coast of Odisha, tracked the missile’s path and evaluated its parameters in real time. The tracking stations confirmed the successful completion of the flight’s terminal events.
From July, the SFC has fired a series of Agni and Prithvi-II missiles, including Agni-I, Agni-II and Agni-III. It launched a Prithvi-II on August 25. The DRDO had successfully launched Agni-V with a range of more than 5,000 km in April and Agni-IV with a range of about 4,000 km in September. The Agni and Prithvi variants are surface-to-surface missiles.
The SFC is slated to fire a Dhanush, a naval variant of Prithvi, on Friday off the eastern coast.
The DRDO will conduct a ballistic interceptor missile test in November.