BHUBANESWAR:India is all set to conduct the maiden test of its brand new surface-to-surface tactical Short Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM) developed under a classified project, code-named Pralay.Elaborate preparation is underway as the missile will be flight tested from a canister mobile launcher any time between September 20 and 22 from a defence test facility off Odisha coast.
As the missile has to follow a manoeuverable trajectory, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has planned to evacuate people residing in three km area of the launching complex. This is for the first time that people are being evacuated from a large area.
A defence official on Friday told ‘The Express’ that the home-grown missile Pralay can be comparable with China’s Dongfeng 12 and Russia’s 9K720 Iskander, both short-range tactical ballistic missiles.
“The experimental trial is aimed at validating the technologies incorporated in the system for the first time and gauging the fire power. If weather permits, the missile will be test fired as scheduled,” he told this paper over phone from New Delhi.
Indigenously designed and developed by DRDO, the missile is a derivative of Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) exo-atmospheric interceptor missile, capable of destroying enemy weapons at high altitudes.Pralay, which is much faster and accurate, has a strike range of 350 km to 500 km and weighs around five tonne. With a payload of 1000 kg, it can travel a distance of 350 km. If the payload is halved, the missile will be able to hit a target as far as 500 km.
Fuelled by composite propellant and developed by Pune-based High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), it uses inertial navigation system for mid-course guidance.Since India’s most of the SRBMs are for strategic strike purposes, development of tactical Pralay was necessitated after the army sought for a 500-km range SRBM that can carry a sizable payload.
Meanwhile, the MoD has asked Balasore district administration to be ready for evacuation of people within a radius of three km from the Integrated Test Range.“Earlier people were being evacuated within a radius of two km for test of certain missiles. But this time, the evacuation area has been extended to a radius of three km,” said a district official.
Nearly three years after the project was sanctioned in March, 2015 at a cost of nearly `333 crore, the DRDO had unveiled some information on the missile at the Defence Expo 2018 held at Chennai in April this year.