Prithvi Missiles -SRBM (Short Range Ballisitc Missile),Variants,Indian Strategic Forces Command
Prithvi is a tactical surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India.
The Prithvi was India’s first indigenously developed ballistic missile produced by the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP). It is a road-mobile, short range ballistic missile (SRBM) powered by a single-stage, two engines, and liquid-fuel.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.
Development of the Prithvi began in 1983, and it was first tested fired on February 25, 1988. The three versions of the Prithvi have been tested twenty times since. 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.
The Prithvi missile project holds 3 variants for the use of Indian Army,Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy.They are as follows
- Prithvi I (SS-150)– Army Version (150 km (93 mi) range with a payload of 1,000 kg)
- Prithvi II (SS-250)– Air Force Version (250 km (160 mi) range with a payload of 500 kg)
- Prithvi III (SS-350)– Naval Version (350 km (220 mi) range with a payload of 1000 kg)
Dhanush is an another naval version of Prithvi which can be launched from ships.According to some sources Dhanush is a system consisting of stabilization platform and missiles,which has the capability to launch from both Prithvi II and Prithvi III from Ships.There is also reported that Dhanush is a variant of Prithvi-II ballistic missile.
The Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is developing a two-tier Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system that consists of two interceptor missiles, namely the Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) missile for high altitude interception, and the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) Missile for lower altitude interception.
Prithvi-I has a 150 km range and a 1,000 kg payload. It has been in army service since 1994 and is capable of striking roughly a quarter of Pakistani territory, including Islamabad and most other major cities. It has an accuracy of 10 – 50 m and can be launched from transporter erector launchers. The Prithvi-I is relatively small, 8.55 meters long and 1.1 meters in diameter. It weighs 4,000-4,500 kg.
The Prithvi-I has been test fired at least twice from mobile launchers by artillery personnel. The mobile launcher, mobile launch control and user version of the ground system including software, have been validated. the Prithvi-I can be armed with five different types of conventional warheads.
The Indian army is reluctant to incorporate the Prithvi-I into its practices largely because of its lack of precision and the difficulties associated with its liquid fuel. The Prithvi is reported to have a relatively high circular error probable (CEP) — 300 meters at 150 km range and 500 meters at 250 km range, (0.2 percent of the range). There have been reports of plans by the Indian Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) to install Global Positioning System (GPS) units on the Prithvi, in order to reduce its CEP to about 75 meters.
Later on the 150 km range Prithvi- will be replaced with the Prahaar missile,which is more capable and has more accuracy.
Prithvi II is a series of Short range ballistic missiles launched to combat opponents in war like situations. It also assists in surface to surface fighting and precisely hitting their intended target.Prithvi-II has a 250 km range and a 500-750 kg payload. It is currently in Air Force service and could strike at least half of Pakistan, including almost all important military targets and all major cities. The Prithvi-II is 8.56 meters long and 1.1 meters in diameter. It weighs 4,600 kg.
The first test fire of this missile was carried out in 1996 and its development stage was completed in the year 2004.The missile was inducted into India’s Strategic Forces Command in 2003, and it was the first missile developed under the IGMDP.Presently, it has evolved into one of the most successful Indian missiles.
The missile features measures to deceive anti-ballistic missiles.The missile had improved navigation due to an inertial navigation system.The missile has the accuracy of hitting the target is less than 10m.
Prithvi II was successfully fired by the SFC again on 25 August 2012 and 4 October 2012, and it covered its full range of 350 km.Another successful training firing of Prithvi II was conducted by the SFC on 7 October 2013,again on 7 January 2014 and 28 March 2014.
the Prithvi 3 is a solid propellant, short-range, road-mobile, ballistic missile that started development in 2000. The Prithvi 3 model is a departure from the propulsion system of the Prithvi SS-150 and Prithvi SS-250, as it employs a two-stage, solid propellant motor. The first stage is solid fuelled with a 16 metric ton force (157 kN) thrust motor. The second stage is liquid-fueled.The longest-ranged member of the Prithvi family of missiles, it was most likely designed for use as a tactical weapon against Pakistan and China.
The missile has a range of 350 km and carry payload of 1000 kg.It is a longer-range naval version of Prithvi and is also referred as the Dhanush.The Prithvi-III has 8.56m long and 1m in diameter.The launch weight of missile is 5600 kg.The warhead include Nuclear 10-20 kT,HE,Submunitions.
Prithvi 3 has four fixed tail fins and uses four control fins near the nose of the missile in order to maneuver within the lower atmosphere. Its range and payload are not sufficient to be used against strategic targets, although its high accuracy and mobility are ideal for use against military targets.
Testing and Status
Prithvi III was first tested in 2000 from INS Subhadra, a Sukanya class patrol craft. The first flight test of the 250 km (160 mi) variant was only partially successful.The operational testing was completed in 2004.In 2005 December, an enhanced 350 km version of the missile was tested from the INS Rajput and successfully hit a land-based target. Thirty missiles were ordered in 2004 followed by an additional 54 in 2006.The missile was again successfully tested-fired from INS Subhadra, which was anchored about 35 km offshore from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur on December 13, 2009.
Reports suggest that a submarine-launched version of the Prithvi 3 is in development. This version would likely have a substantially increased range between 600 and 1000 km.
Similarities between Prithvi-3 and Dhanush
There is similarity between this project of Prithvi-3 and Dhanush missile system.They both shared a common ship-based launch system,and the two missiles seem to have the same projected range approximations.The Prithvi-3 is two stage solid propulsion system whereas Dhanush has two stage liquid and solid propulsion system. It is possible that Dhanush is simply a technology demonstrator for certain aspects of the Prithvi 3 program.