In an exercise to further sharpen its missile teeth, India on Friday successfully test-fired two indigenously developed, nuclear capable ballistic missiles, both having a strike range of 350 km, from separate locations off the Orissa coast.
While Dhanush was flight tested from a naval ship in the Bay of Bengal at a spot between Paradip and Puri at 1005 hours, Prithvi-II surface-to-surface ballistic missile was test-fired at around 11 hours from a mobile launcherat launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, 15 km from Balasore.
The test of Dhanush came around the same time Pakistan was test-firing its short-range surface-to-surface nuclear-capable Hatf-II or Abdali ballistic missile.
"It was a fantastic launch. Both the missions, carried out from different locations off Orissa coast, were fully successful," ITR Director S P Dash told PTI.
"Both the missiles are under production after successful completion of developmental trials and have been inducted into the armed forces," said a scientist of Defence Research Development Organisation, maintaining that the launches on Friday morning were "part of regular training exercise".
"The trajectory of both the missiles, with advanced navigation and guidance systems, were monitored by a widespread tracking network consisting of radars, telemetry and electro-optical
A similar training exercise, comprising both Dhanush and Prithvi-II were successfully conducted in a "salvo mode" off Orissa coast on March 27, 2010.
Dhanush, which is also known as the naval version of Prithvi, is a liquid-propellant single-stage missile. It has a pay load capacity of 500 kg and capable of carrying both nuclear as well as conventional warheads. The missile can hit both sea and shore-based targets with pinpoint accuracy. It is 10-metre long, one metre in diameter and weighs six tonnes.
Referring to Prithvi-II, a DRDO scientist said the test firing of the surface-to-surface missile, which has already been inducted into the armed forces, was a routine trial conducted by the personnel of Strategic Force Command.
"The trial was conducted in the presence of senior officials as part of routine training exercises," sources said.
Prithvi, the first missile developed under India's prestigious Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme, has proved its robustness and accuracy repeatedly during many trials earlier since the first trial conducted in 1988.
Image: File photo of the Dhanush missile