Surface Forces: Indian Ballistic Missiles for Ship Launch


January 1, 2006: India has successfully tested a naval version of its Prithvi ballistic missile. Modified for shipboard use, the Dhanush has a range of 250 kilometers. About a year ago, a Prithvi missile was successfully launched from underwater. This was seen as a test of underwater launch technology, not preparation for using the Prithvi as a submarine launched missile.

Prithvi missiles are used, in slightly different versions, by the army and air force. The army version has a range of 150 kilometers (and a one ton warhead), while the air force versions can go 250 kilometers (with a half ton warhead). The army version of the missile can hit it's target within five minutes of launch. The 28 foot long, four ton missile uses liquid fuel, meaning it takes up to an hour to ready for launch. Over a hundred missiles have been delivered so far, with all the recent production being the 250 kilometer version. At least three missile units (called groups) have been formed, each with 12 mobile launchers and at least two dozen missiles. The Prithvi missile carries cluster bomb and nuclear warheads. Accuracy is thought to be quite good, using software correction and GPS to achieve under fifty meter accuracy. The missile, with non-nuclear warheads, would be used against high value targets like headquarters or fuel and ammo depots. There's no reason why Prithvi's could not be launched from ships, even merchant ships.




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contribute. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   contribute   Close