India today test-fired its nuclear-capable Prithvi-II ballistic missile with a strike range of 350 km from a test range near here as part of a user trial by the army.
“The flight test of the surface-to-surface missile was conducted at around 9.07 am from a mobile launcher from Integrated Test Range’s launch complex-III at Chandipur,” defence sources said.
The latest Prithvi is the first ballistic missile developed under the country’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme and has the capability to carry 500 kg of both nuclear and conventional warheads with a strike range of 350 km, they said.
The missile uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory. The test-fire of the sophisticated short-range ballistic missile, which has already been inducted into the armed forces, was a user trial by the army and monitored by the scientists of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The sleek missile is handled by the strategic force command (SFC), a defence scientist said, adding that the trial was conducted to gauge the effectiveness of the weapon in a real time situation.
“The whole exercise was aimed at studying the control and guidance system of the missile besides providing training to the Army,” said an official.
The missile is 9 metre-long and one metre in diameter with liquid propulsion twin engine. A defence scientist associated with the trial said radars and electro-optical systems located along the coast tracked and monitored all the parameters of the missile throughout the flight path.
Prithvi-II has been successfully flight tested several times as part of the training exercise and the last trial was a complete success on August 25, 2012 as it reached the predefined target in the Bay of Bengal with a very high accuracy of better than 10 metres, they said.