The stage is set for a fresh user trial of surface-to-surface medium range nuclear capable ballistic missile Prithvi-II. As part of training exercise, Indian Army will carry out the test on Monday.
Defence sources said the missile, which went into production after a series of test firings and induction in the armed forces, will be test-fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) located at Chandipur-on-sea, off the Odisha coast.
A defence official said this is a limited stock production (LSP) test by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Army.
“If weather favours, the missile will be launched between 9 am and 12 noon. Otherwise, the test may be deferred for Tuesday or Wednesday,” he said.
The missile used for the test has been randomly selected from the production lot.
The Army personnel would gauge the efficiency and killing probability of the missile in a real time situation. Prithvi is currently the mainstay of the SFC, along with the 700-km range Agni-I, 2000-km-plus range Agni-II and 3000-km range Agni-III ballistic missiles. Preparation for the test launch has been completed.
Last year, the missile was test-fired twice successfully. “DRDO claims that Prithvi is a proven missile, but it has not performed as expected by the user. The missile developed snags thrice in the recent past, which is why the Army wants to carry out as many user trials to validate its performance in real time situation,” said a defence expert.
Prithvi, the first missile developed under Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), has a length of nine metres with one metre diameter thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engine.
It uses Advanced Inertial Guidance System with manoeuvring trajectory and reaches the targets with a few metres accuracy.
Prithvi-II, which has a strike range of nearly 350 km, uses an inertial guidance system with reasonably good accuracy and the warhead uses a radar correlation terminal guidance system. The missile has the capability to carry a payload of 1000 kg but if it is reduced by half, the striking range of the sleek missile could be enhanced.