Prithvi (missile)

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Prithvi (missile)
Prithvi-II missile launch on 11 March 2011 (cropped).jpg
Prithvi II missile during a launch
TypeShort-range ballistic missile
Place of originIndia
Service history
In service1994 (Prithvi I)
Used byIndian Armed Forces
Production history
ManufacturerBharat Dynamics Limited
Defence Research and Development Organisation
ProducedFebruary 25, 1988 (Prithvi I)
January 27, 1996 (Prithvi II)
January 23, 2004 (Prithvi III)
No. built30 (2017 est.)[1]
Mass4,400 kg (Prithvi I)
4,600 kg (Prithvi II)
5,600 kg (Prithvi III)
Length9 m (Prithvi I)
8.56 m (Prithvi II, Prithvi III)
Diameter110 cm (Prithvi I, Prithvi II)
100 cm (Prithvi III)
WarheadHigh explosives, penetration, cluster munition, fragmentation, thermobaric, chemical weapon and strategic nuclear weapon

EngineSingle-stage liquid rocket (Prithvi I, Prithvi II),
Two-stage solid rocket (Prithvi III)
PropellantLiquid fuel (Prithvi I, Prithvi II),
Solid fuel (Prithvi III)
150 km (Prithvi I)
250–350 km (Prithvi II)
350–600 km (Prithvi III)
Strap-down inertial navigation system
Accuracy50 m CEP (Prithvi I, Prithvi II)
25 m CEP (Prithvi III)[2]
8 x 8 Tata transporter erector launcher

Prithvi (Sanskrit: pṛthvī "Earth") is a tactical surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) developed by DRDO of India under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP). It is deployed by India's Strategic Forces Command.

Development and history[edit]

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. Prithvi was the first missile to be developed under the program. DRDO attempted to build a surface-to-air missile under Project Devil.[3] 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 three 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.[4]

  • Prithvi I (SS-150) – Army version (150 km (93 mi) range with a payload of 1,000 kg (2,200 lb))
  • Prithvi II (SS-250) – Air Force version (350 km (220 mi)[5] range with a payload of 500 kg (1,100 lb))
  • Prithvi III (SS-350) – Naval version (350 km (220 mi) range with a payload of 1,000 kg (2,200 lb))


Agni and Prithvi missile models in DRDO, Balasore

Prithvi I[edit]

Prithvi I class is a single-stage liquid-fueled surface-to-surface ballistic missile having a maximum warhead mounting capability of 1,000 kg, with a range of 150 km (93 mi). It has an accuracy of 10–50 m (33–164 ft) and can be launched from transporter erector launchers. This class of Prithvi missile was inducted into the Indian Army in 1994. As Per (DRDO) Chief Avinash Chander the tactical 150 km-range Prithvi missile will be replaced with the Prahaar missile, which is more capable and has more accuracy. According to Chander, the Prithvi I missiles withdrawn from service would be upgraded to be used for longer ranges.[citation needed]

Prithvi II[edit]

Prithvi II class is also a single-stage liquid-fueled missile having a maximum warhead mounting capability of 500 kg, but with an extended range of 250 km (160 mi). It was developed with the Indian Air Force being the primary user. It was first test-fired on 27 January 1996 and the development stages were completed in 2004. This variant has been inducted into the army as well. In a test, the missile was launched with an extended range of 350 km (220 mi) and had improved navigation due to an inertial navigation system. The missile features measures to deceive anti-ballistic missiles.

The missile was inducted into India's Strategic Forces Command in 2003, and it was the first missile developed under the IGMDP.[6] After a failed test on 24 September 2010,[7] two more missiles aimed at two different targets were launched on 22 December 2010 and were successful.[8] According to news sources the range is now increased to 350 km (220 mi) and the payload capacity now ranges between 500 – 1000 kg.[9][10][11][12] On June 2, India successfully test-fired its indigenous nuclear-capable Prithvi-II missile. The launch happened at the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Odisha at 9:50am. The missile, capable of carrying payloads of up to 1,000kg, was inducted into the armed forces in 2003. It is the first to be developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization under its Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.

India’s Strategic Forces Command test launched two short-range nuclear capable ballistic missiles at night as part of its annual training cycle to test the combat readiness of the Indian Army’s missile forces.Two Prithvi-II tactical surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missiles were test fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) on Dr. Abdul Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Odisha at nighttime on November 20.The missile launches took place between 7 p.m. and 7:15 p.m., according to government sources cited in local media reports.The trial of the surface-to-surface missile with a strike range of 350 km was carried out from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the ITR at 7:05 pm, sources told India Today TV, adding it was a routine trial.[13]

India on Tuesday conducted a night trial of its indigenously developed, nuclear-capable surface-to-surface Prithvi-II missile off Odisha coast. The Strategic Forces Command conducted the night trial of short-range ballistic missile Prithvi-II from launch complex-3 of Integrated Test Range in Chandipur.Defence sources said that the missile has strike range of 350 km, was test-fired at 7.48 p.m. on Tuesday 04 Dec.[14]

Test type Date User Status Notes
Test 27 January 1996 DRDO Successful
User Trial 12 October 2009 (I) Strategic Forces Command Successful [15]
12 October 2009 (II)
24 September 2010 Failure Launch motor failure[16]
22 December 2010 (I) Successful [8]
22 December 2010 (II)
9 June 2011 [17]
25 August 2012 [18]
4 October 2012 [19]
7 October 2013 [20]
7 January 2014 [21]
28 March 2014 [22][21]
26 November 2015 [23]
16 February 2016 [24][25]
18 May 2016 [26][27][28]
21 November 2016 (I) [29][30]
21 November 2016 (II)
2 June 2017 [12]
7 February 2018 [31]
21 February 2018 [32]
User Trail Night 21 November 2019 Strategic Forces Command Successful [33]
User Trial Night 04 December 2019 Strategic Force Command Successful [34]

Prithvi III[edit]

Prithvi III class is a two-stage surface-to-surface missile. The first stage is solid fueled with a 16 metric ton force (157 kN) thrust motor. The second stage is liquid-fueled. The missile can carry a 1,000 kg warhead to a distance of 350 km (220 mi) and a 500 kg warhead to a distance of 600 km (370 mi) and a 250 kg warhead up to a distance of 750 km (470 mi). Dhanush is a system consisting of a stabilization platform and the missile. It is a customized version of the Prithvi and is certified 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 as a weapon either to be used to destroy an aircraft carrier or an enemy port. The missile has been tested from surface ships of the navy many times.

Prithvi III was first tested in 2000 from INS Subhadra, a Sukanya-class patrol vessel. The missile was launched from the updated reinforced helicopter deck of the vessel. The first flight test of the 250 km (160 mi) variant was only partially successful.[35] The full operational testing was completed in 2004.[36] The following year in December, an enhanced 350 km version of the missile, the Dhanush was tested from INS Rajput and successfully hit a land-based target.[37] The missile was again successfully tested-fired from INS Subhadra, which was anchored about 35 km (22 mi) offshore from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur on December 13, 2009. It was the sixth test of the missile.[38] Prithvi III or Dhanush was again tested on November 26, 2015 from INS Subhadra in the Bay of Bengal.[39]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Military Balance 2017. 2017-02-14. ISBN 9781857439007.
  2. ^ CSIS. "Prithvi-I/II/III". Missile Threat. Center for Strategic and International Studies. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  3. ^ Arun Vishwakarma. "PRITHVI SRBM". Bharat Rakshak. Archived from the original on 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2008-02-06.
  4. ^ Centre for Non Proliferation Studies Archive, accessed 18 October 2006 Archived 2 December 2001 at the Library of Congress Web Archives
  5. ^ "India successfully test fires indigenously developed Prithvi-II missile". 2016-05-18. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  6. ^ "Prithvi-II training launch successful". The Hindu. August 12, 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  7. ^ "PIB Press Release". Retrieved 2010-07-16.
  8. ^ a b "India test-fires two Prithvi-II ballistic missiles". The Times Of India. 2010-12-22.
  9. ^ "Improved Prithvi-II successfully test fired". 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2010-07-16.
  10. ^ TOI (2011-06-09). "Nuclear-capable Prithvi-II test-fired".
  11. ^ PTI, Oct 12, 2009, 10.40am IST (2009-10-12). "Two nuclear capable Prithvi-2 missiles successfully test fired - India - The Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2010-07-16.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ a b "Indian army successfully test fires nuclear capable ballistic missile Prithvi-II off Odisha coast". June 2, 2017. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
  13. ^ Karan. "India Test Fires Two Prithvi-II Short-Range Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missiles". Prithvi II Tested Strike Range 350KM. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  14. ^ Velira1. "India on Tuesday conducted a night trial of its indigenously developed, nuclear-capable surface-to-surface Prithvi-II missile off Odisha coast". Prithvi Tested Strike Range of 350 Km. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  15. ^ "India test-fires two Prithvi- II missiles". The Hindu. 2009-10-12. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2016-05-18.
  16. ^ "Strategic Weapons: India Improves Its SCUD Clones". Retrieved 2016-05-18.
  17. ^ Unacknowledged (9 June 2011). "Prithvi-II successfully launched". Business Line. The Hindu. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
  18. ^ "Prithvi II successfully test-fired". 2012-08-25. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
  19. ^ "Prithvi-II ballistic missile test fired". The Hindu. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  20. ^ "Nuclear Capable Prithvi 2 Missile soars again successfully". The Biharprabha News. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  21. ^ a b "India test-fires nuclear-capable Prithvi-II missile". The Indian Express. 7 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  22. ^ PTI (2014-03-28). "India test fires nuclear-capable Prithvi-II missile from Chandipur". Retrieved 2016-05-18. External link in |website= (help)
  23. ^ "India successfully test fires Prithvi". 26 November 2015.
  24. ^ "Indigenously developed Prithvi-II missile successfully test-fired - The Economic Times". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
  25. ^ "Prithvi-II missile test-fired in Odisha - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
  26. ^ "Indian army successfully test fires Prithvi-II ballistic missile". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2016-05-18.
  27. ^ "India successfully test fires indigenously developed Prithvi-II missile". The Indian Express. 2016-05-18. Retrieved 2016-05-18.
  28. ^ "India successfully test fires Prithvi-II missile from Chandipur - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2016-05-18.
  29. ^ "India successfully conducts twin trial of Prithvi-II missile". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2016-11-26.
  30. ^ Team, BS Web (2016-11-22). "Prithvi II's twin trial successfully test fired: 10 key points about India's indigenous missile". Business Standard India. Retrieved 2016-11-26.
  31. ^ "India successfully test-fires nuclear capable Prithvi-II". The Economic Times. 2018-02-07. Retrieved 2018-02-07.
  32. ^ "Night trial of India's nuke capable Prithvi-II ballistic missile successful". Sputnik News. 2018-02-22. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  33. ^ "India Test Fires Two Prithvi-II Short-Range Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missiles". Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  34. ^ "India conducts another night trial of Prithvi-II missile". 2019-12-04. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  35. ^ "Nuclear Data - Table of Indian Nuclear Forces, 2002". NRDC. Retrieved 2010-07-16.
  36. ^ Unacknowledged (12 Oct 2009). "Prithvi". Bharat Rakshak Missiles. Bharat Rakshak. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  37. ^ " : Dhanush, naval surface-to-surface missile, test fired successfully". Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  38. ^ "Dhanush missile successfully test-fired". The Times Of India. 2009-12-14.
  39. ^ "Dhanush missile". India Today. Retrieved 30 November 2015.

External links[edit]