India test fires nuclear-capable Prithvi-II missile
Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: India Monday successfully test fired the nuclear-capable surface-to-surface Prithvi-II missile twice from a test range in Orissa, officials said.
The missiles were fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Balasore district, some 230 km from state capital Bhubaneswar -- first at 10.28 a.m. and then again five minutes later at 10.33 a.m.
The tests were described as part of an "user trial".
Two Naval ships tracked and monitored both the missiles hitting the targets accurately. All the radars and other sensors along the east coast monitored the missiles` trajectory parameters.
"It was basically tested by army people. It was an user trial. The test was fantastic. It was a text-book launch," ITR director S.P. Dash said over phone.
The missiles have a striking range of about 350 km, he said.
Prithvi is India`s first indigenously built ballistic missile. It is one of five missiles being developed under India`s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
Two versions of the missiles have already been deployed with the Army and the Air Force.
Monday`s test was conducted in the presence of several scientists, including V.K. Saraswat, scientific adviser to the defence minister.
According to defence officials in the national capital, Prithvi missile has the capability to carry 500-kg of warhead.
It uses Advanced Inertial Guidance System with manoeuvring trajectory and reaches the targets with a few metres` accuracy.
"Both the missiles were from the stock of the armed forces and the total launch activities were carried out by the Strategic Force Command," said an official here.
Lt. Gen. B.S. Nagal, Chief of Strategic Force Command, Lt. Gen. V.K. Singh, commander of Eastern Command, and other senior scientists were present during the test fire.
The Indian Army has already inducted a shorter-range version of the missile, Prithvi-I with a range of 150 km that can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads.
India and Pakistan routinely carry out missile tests, and normally inform each other of these in advance.
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