Indian Army successfully test fires Prithvi missile (Lead)

May 23rd, 2008 - 5:31 pm ICT by admin  


Balasore (Orissa), May 23 (IANS) The Indian Army Friday successfully test fired a surface-to-surface nuclear-capable Prithvi missile, achieving “close to zero circular error probability (CEP) accuracy”, an official said. The missile, which has a range of 350 km, was launched from the Interim Test Range at Chandipur in Balasore district off the Orissa coast at 10.26 a.m., the official said.

Prithvi has already been inducted into the army and Friday’s launch was carried out as part of army training.

“Taken from a routine production lot, the missile was launched with an improved aided inertial navigation system and achieved single digit accuracy reaching close to zero CEP,” a defence ministry statement issued in New Delhi said.

Prithvi is India’s first indigenously built ballistic missile. One of five missiles being developed under India’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme, Prithvi is capable of carrying a payload of between 500 kg and one tonne, including nuclear weapons.

Scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) that designed Prithvi have also developed its anti-ballistic missile version that was successfully test fired late last year.

The ABM version will enable India put in place a missile defence shield comparable to the US Patriot anti-missile system that is considered to be the best in the world, DRDO scientists had said after the test.

Top army officials and DRDO scientists witnessed Thursday’s launch. V.K. Saraswat, DRDO’s chief controller for R&D oversaw all the operations of the launch. Interim Test Range director SP Dash, project director D.S. Reddy, and other scientists were also present.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony congratulated all the scientists of DRDO on the successful launch of Prithvi. M. Natarajan, scientific advisor to the defence minister, also congratulated the scientists “and wished them many more glorious achievements”, the defence ministry statement said.

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