Successful Test Launch for India’s Prithvi-II Nuclear Missile

By | Jun 02, 2017 11:34 AM EDT

Prithvi II launch.(Photo : Indian Army)

The Indian Army reports the successful test launch of a Prithvi-II tactical surface-to-surface, short-range ballistic missile (SRBM), one of only two missile types India operates that can be armed with nuclear warheads.

It said the test on June 2 at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Odisha was part of its regular training exercises. The missile, which can deploy either a 500 kg or 1,000 kg nuclear or non-nuclear warhead, was fired from a mobile launcher.

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The test was conducted by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC), a unit that reports to the Nuclear Command Authority (NCA). SFC is responsible for the management and administration of India's tactical and strategic nuclear weapons stockpile. SFC was organized only in 2003.

What makes the Prithvi family of SRBMs unique is they're the first home grown missiles developed under the government's Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) whose aim is to strengthens India's nuclear deterrence posture.

SFC has control over India's only two nuclear capable ballistic missile types: Agni and Prithvi.

Agni-I, Agni-II and Agni-III are directly controlled by SFC and have been deployed to the Indian Armed Forces. Agni-IV and Agni-V (which has a maximum range of 8,000 km) have both bees successfully tested.

On the other hand, Prithvi-I, Prithvi-11 and Prithvi-III have all been deployed with the armed forces. Prithvi-I is operated by the Indian Army and has a rage of 150 km. It's mounted on an 8 x 8 Tata Transporter Erector Launcher or TEL.

Prithvi-II is operated mainly by the Indian Air Force but also by the Indian Army. This short range missile can take its 500 kg warhead to a distance of 350 km. Prithvi-III is an anti-ship variant operated by the Indian Navy and can reach a maximum distance of 350 km.

Prithvi became operational with the SFC in 2003. 

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