Prithvi I missile
|Type||Short Range Ballistic Missile|
|Place of origin||India|
|In service||1994 (Prithvi I)|
|Used by||Indian Army
Indian Air Force
|Manufacturer||Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)
|Produced||February 25, 1988 (Prithvi I)
January 27, 1996 (Prithvi II)
April 11, 2000 (Dhanush)
January 23, 2004 (Prithvi III)
|Weight||4,400 kg (Prithvi I)
4,600 kg (Prithvi II)
5,600 kg (Prithvi III)
|Length||9 m (Prithvi I)
8.56 m (Prithvi II, Prithvi III)
|Diameter||110 cm (Prithvi I, Prithvi II)
100cm (Prithvi III)
|Engine||Single Stage liquid fuel dual motor(Prithvi I, Prithvi II),
Single Stage Solid Motor (Prithvi III)
|150 km (Prithvi I)
250-350 km (Prithvi II)
350 - 600 km (Prithvi III)
|strap-down inertial guidance|
|8 x 8 Tata Transporter Erector Launcher|
Development and History 
The Government of India launched the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program in 1983 to achieve self sufficiency in the development and production of wide range of Ballistic Missiles, Surface to Air Missiles etc.
Variants make use of either liquid or both liquid and solid fuels. Developed as a battlefield missile, it could carry a nuclear warhead in its role as a tactical nuclear weapon.
The Prithvi missile project encompassed developing 3 variants for use by the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy. The initial project framework of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program outlines the variants in the following manner.
- Prithvi I (SS-150) - Army Version (150 km range with a payload of 1,000 kg)
- Prithvi II (SS-250) - Air Force Version (250 km range with a payload of 500 kg)
- Prithvi III (SS-350) - Naval Version (350 km range with a payload of 1000 kg)
- Dhanush- Dhanush is reportedly a naval version of Prithvi which can be launched from ships. Some sources claim that Dhanush is a system consisting of stabilization platform and missiles, which has the capability to launch both Prithvi II and Prithvi III from Ships while others report that Dhanush is a variant of Prithvi-II ballistic missile.
Over the years these specifications underwent a number of changes. While the codename Prithvi stands for any missile inducted by India into its armed forces in this category, the later developmental versions are codenamed as Prithvi II and Prithvi III.
Prithvi I 
Prithvi I class was a surface-to-surface missile having a maximum warhead mounting capability of 1,000 kg, with a range of 150 km. It has an accuracy of 10 – 50 metres and can be launched from Transporter erector launchers. This class of Prithvi missile was inducted into the Indian Army in 1994.
Prithvi II 
Prithvi II class is also a single stage liquid-fuelled missile having a maximum warhead mounting capability of 500 kg, but with an extended range of 250 kilometres. It was developed with the Indian Air Force being the primary user. It was first test-fired on January 27, 1996 and the development stages were completed in 2004. This variant has been inducted into the Army as well.In a recent test, the Missile was launched with an extended range of 350 kilometres and improved Aided Inertial Navigation. The missile has the features to deceive Anti Ballistic Missiles. After a failed test on 24 September 2010 two more missiles were launched on December 22, 2010 which proved to be complete success. According to ITR director S P Dash: "It was a fantastic launch. Two missiles aimed at two different targets, met all the mission objectives. It was a copy book success."  According to news sources the range is now increased to 350 km and the payload capacity now ranges between 500 to 1000 kg. A test firing on 9 June 2011 at the Interim Test Range in Chandipur was successful with the missile reaching an accuracy of better than 10 meters. Prithvi II was successfully test fired again on 25 August 2012 covering its full range of 350 kilometers, and again on 4 October 2012 yielding same results.
Prithvi III 
Prithvi III class (codenamed Dhanush meaning Bow) is a two-stage ship-to-surface missile. The first stage is solid fuelled with a 16 metric ton force (157 kN) thrust motor. The second stage is liquid fuelled. The missile can carry a 1,000 kg warhead to a distance of 350 km and a 500 kg warhead to a distance of 600 kilometres and a 250 kilogram warhead up to a distance of 750 kilometres. Dhanush is a system consisting of a stabilization platform (Bow) and the Missile (Arrow). Supposedly it is a customised version of the Prithvi and that the additional customizations in missile configuration is to certify it for sea worthiness. Dhanush has to be launched from a hydraulically stabilized launch pad. Its low range acts against it and thus it is seen a weapons either to be used to destroy an aircraft carrier or an enemy port. The missile has been tested from the surface ships many times.
Prithvi III was first tested in 2000 from INS Subhadra, a Sukanya class patrol craft. The missile was launched from an updated, reinforced helicopter deck of the vessel. The first flight test of the 250 km variant was only partially successful. The full operational testing was completed in 2004. The following year in December an enhanced 350 km version of the missile was tested from the INS Rajput and successfully hit a land based target. The missile was again successfully tested-fired from INS Subhadra anchored about 35 km offshore from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur on December 13, 2009. It was the sixth test of the missile. Up to now this missile has not been deployed largely for logistical deficiencies. It requires explosive liquid fuel which is hard to store. Its accuracy is also supposed to be less than that of Brahmos. Plus it cannot be launched vertically which forces all missiles to be stored on the surface of the ship. Vertically launched missiles can be stored internally in the hull of a ship. This deficiency also means that it will not be used in submarines or underwater systems.
See also 
- Arun Vishwakarma. "PRITHVI SRBM". Bharat Rakshak. Archived from the original on 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2008-02-06.
- Centre for Non Proliferation Studies Archive accessed 18 October 2006.
- "DHANUSH SUCCESSFULLY TEST FIRED". Ministry of Defence Press Release. Retrieved 2008-02-05. "The test-fired missile Dhanush, is a naval version of Prithvi, developed by DRDO and manufactured by M/s Bharat Dynamics Limited."
- "PIB Press Release". Pib.nic.in. Retrieved 2010-07-16.
- "India test-fires two Prithvi-II ballistic missiles". The Times Of India. 2010-12-22.
- "Improved Prithvi-II successfully test fired". Indianexpress.com. 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2010-07-16.
- "TOI" (2011-06-09). "Nuclear-capable Prithvi-II test-fired".
- PTI, Oct 12, 2009, 10.40am IST (2009-10-12). "Two nuclear capable Prithvi-2 missiles successfully test fired - India - The Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 2010-07-16.
- Unacknowledged (09-06-2011). "Prithvi-II successfully launched". Business Line. The Hindu. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
- "Prithvi II successfully test-fired". thehindu.com. 2012-08-25. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
- "Prithvi-II ballistic missile test fired". The Hindu. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
- "Nuclear Data - Table of Indian Nuclear Forces, 2002". NRDC. Retrieved 2010-07-16.
- Unacknowledged (12 Oct 2009). "Prithvi". Bharat Rakshak Missiles. Bharat Rakshak. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
- domain-b.com: Dhanush, naval surface-to-surface missile, test fired successfully
- "'Dhanush' missile successfully test-fired". The Times Of India. 2009-12-14.