BALASORE: The nuclear capable ballistic missile Prithvi-II failed to reach the target during its user trial off the Odisha coast on Tuesday. It was developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Mounted on a Mobile Tatra transporter-erector Launcher (MTL), the sophisticated missile was fired from the launching complex-III (LC-III) of Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur off the Odisha coast at about 10 am.
Even as the ITR officials claimed that the mission was part of a routine user trial by the Army and successful, a reliable source who witnessed the test informed ‘The Express’ that the missile failed to attain the desired height and deviated from in its trajectory.
“The missile lifted off smoothly from the launch pad and travelled along the pre-designated trajectory. But, it could not cover the desired distance coordinated by the Army due to some technical snags. Data generated during the mission are being analysed to find out as to where it developed the snags,” the source said.
It was not for the first time that the missile behaved abnormally. On December 21, 2011 twin tests of the missile had ended in failures as both the missiles failed to take off due to insufficient pressure after the ignition. On December 21, 2012 too, the missile did not cover the intended distance. Earlier, on March 15 and September 24, 2010 the same missile had failed to deliver desired results.
Significantly, the mission was totally executed by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Army, user of the missile with all logistic supports from the DRDO. The test was to reconfirm the technical parameters set for the user associated launch and check the Army’s readiness to use it. The entire trajectory of the missile was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations and electro-optic instruments.
Meanwhile, recurring failures of Prithvi-II missile, touted as a proven weapon of the country, have left defence experts, worried, who too have questioned the reliability over P-II during the deployment stage.