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India successfully test fires nuclear capable SRBM Prithvi-II Missile

An image of the PAD Exo-atmospheric interceptor missile, being integrated at the Programme Air Defence ABM missile production facilities in Hyderabad. (Ajai Shukla/Wikimedia Commons)
September 25, 2020

On September 23, India’s Premier Defense Lab DRDO conducted a night-time test of the indigenously developed and deployed Prithvi-II Missile at the Integrated Test Range off the coast of Orissa in Chandipur.

DRDO carried out the test from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the ITR, a DRDO official said, according to Economic Times. The official said the trial entailed tracking the missile trajectory with radars, electro-optical tracking systems, and telemetry stations.

The test was considered routine and part of user trial and operational accessibility procedures to check and analyze parameters of the missile’s functionalities on short-notice deployment.

The missile is said to be chosen at random from India’s Strategic arsenal by DRDO to test and further assess military preparedness from the missile operating force under the Defense Ministry of India.

The entire test was hosted by Strategic Forces Command (SFC) the sole operator and keeper of the Nuclear arsenals in India, and the test was monitored by scientists of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of the training exercise.

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There was a deployed downrange team onboard a ship at sea that was tasked to monitor the terminal phase of missile and splashdown in the sea at its impact point.

The last testfire of Prithvi-II was also conducted successfully from the ITR at night on Nov. 20, 2019.

Prithvi-II is a Short Range Ballistic Missile designed and developed by DRDO under Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) with its Predecessor Prithvi-I, The missile development was spearheaded by the former president of India Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam who was a lead aerospace scientist during the project.

The missile is capable of hitting its target at a range of 350km with single-digit CEP accuracy. It can carry 500 to 1,000 kg of warheads including nuclear and conventional both while the missile is powered by liquid propulsion twin engine rocket motors. Already inducted in 2003, the missile is part of India’s nuclear deterrent policy and is operated by Strategic Forces Command (SFC).

With this test, India is able to keep its arsenal in check for potential wartime scenarios. India is one of a few countries that operate short-range ballistic missiles with a nuclear warhead option since India’s adversarial nations are its neighbors — Pakistan and China.