India on Monday created history by successfully test-firing its nuclear capable medium range surface-to-surface Prithvi-II missile in an altogether different trajectory from a defence base off the Odisha coast.
The 350-km range missile travelled along a lift- augmented modified ballistic trajectory unlike other ballistic missiles in its class which are conversant with a clear parabolic path. It moved down perfectly after attaining an altitude of over 50 km and then went up before zeroing in on the target as coordinated.
The test was aimed at checking the performance of manoeuvring stealth warheads besides gauging the efficiency and killing probability of the missile in a real time situation. Defence sources said a missile unit of the Army’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) launched the indigenously developed ballistic missile in a complete operational configuration from the launching complex-III of Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea at about 9.15 am.
ITR Director M V K V Prasad told this paper that the missile was tested for full range in an optimised and modified trajectory. “It was a perfect textbook launch. Equipped with indigenously developed advanced navigation and manoeuvring system, the missile achieved all its technical parameters, set out for this launch.”
The missile trajectory was tracked by the DRDO radars, electro-optical tracking systems and telemetry stations located along the coast.
The downrange teams onboard a naval ship deployed near the designated impact point in the Bay of Bengal had monitored the terminal events and splashdown. The entire flight path of the missile was smooth in accordance with pre-decided coordinates.
The missile, carrying a dummy payload, covered a distance of nearly 261 km in around 8 minutes.
Prithvi-II has the capability to carry 500 to 1,000 kgs of warhead. Inducted in the armed forces in 2003, the missile is now a proven technology. The launch was part of a regular training exercise of the SFC. Programme Director of AD Adalat Ali, Project Director N Siva Subramanyam, PXE Director R Appavuraj and others were present to oversee the launch operations.