Prithvi (missile)

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Prithvi 02.jpg
Prithvi I missile
Type Short Range Ballistic Missile
Place of origin  India
Service history
In service 1994 (Prithvi I)
Used by Indian Armed Forces
Production history
Manufacturer Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)
Produced February 25, 1988 (Prithvi I)
January 27, 1996 (Prithvi II)
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

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 Surface-to-air Missile under Project Devil.[1] 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.[2]

  • Prithvi I (SS-150) - Army Version (150 km (93 mi) range with a payload of 1,000 kg)
  • Prithvi II (SS-250) - Air Force Version (250 km (160 mi) range with a payload of 500 kg)
  • Prithvi III (SS-350) - Naval Version (350 km (220 mi) range with a payload of 1000 kg)


Agni and Prithvi missile models in DRDO, Balasore

Prithvi I[edit]

Prithvi I class is a surface-to-surface 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 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.

Prithvi II[edit]

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 km (160 mi). 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 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.[3] After a failed test on 24 September 2010,[4] two more missiles aimed at two different targets were launched on 22 December 2010 and were successful.[5] According to news sources the range is now increased to 350 km (220 mi) and the payload capacity now ranges between 500 – 1000 kg.[6][7][8] A test firing on 9 June 2011 at the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur was successful with the missile reaching an accuracy of better than 10 m (33 ft).[9] Prithvi II was successfully fired by the SFC again on 25 August 2012 and 4 October 2012, and it covered its full range of 350 km.[10][11] Another successful training firing of Prithvi II was conducted by the SFC on 7 October 2013,[12] again on 7 January 2014 and 28 March 2014.[13] On November 26, 2015 Prithvi was tested successfully.[14]

Prithvi III[edit]

Prithvi III class is a two-stage surface-to-surface missile. The first stage is solid fuelled 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 a weapons 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 craft. 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.[15] The full operational testing was completed in 2004.[16] 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.[17] The missile was again successfully tested-fired from INS Subhadra, which was anchored about 35 km offshore from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur on December 13, 2009. It was the sixth test of the missile.[18] Prithvi III or Dhanush was again tested on November 26, 2015 from INS Subhadra (P51) in the Bay of Bengal.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Arun Vishwakarma. "PRITHVI SRBM". Bharat Rakshak. Archived from the original on 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  2. ^ Centre for Non Proliferation Studies Archive accessed 18 October 2006.
  3. ^ "Prithvi-II training launch successful". The Hindu. August 12, 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "PIB Press Release". Retrieved 2010-07-16. 
  5. ^ "India test-fires two Prithvi-II ballistic missiles". The Times Of India. 2010-12-22. 
  6. ^ "Improved Prithvi-II successfully test fired". 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2010-07-16. 
  7. ^ "TOI" (2011-06-09). "Nuclear-capable Prithvi-II test-fired". 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ Unacknowledged (9 June 2011). "Prithvi-II successfully launched". Business Line. The Hindu. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  10. ^ "Prithvi II successfully test-fired". 2012-08-25. Retrieved 2012-08-25. 
  11. ^ "Prithvi-II ballistic missile test fired". The Hindu. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "Nuclear Capable Prithvi 2 Missile soars again successfully". The Biharprabha News. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "India test-fires nuclear-capable Prithvi-II missile". The Indian Express. 7 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "India successfully test fires Prithvi". 26 November 2015. 
  15. ^ "Nuclear Data - Table of Indian Nuclear Forces, 2002". NRDC. Retrieved 2010-07-16. 
  16. ^ Unacknowledged (12 Oct 2009). "Prithvi". Bharat Rakshak Missiles. Bharat Rakshak. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  17. ^ Dhanush, naval surface-to-surface missile, test fired successfully
  18. ^ "Dhanush missile successfully test-fired". The Times Of India. 2009-12-14. 
  19. ^ "Dhanush missile". India Today. Retrieved 30 November 2015.