India's Rocket Force Begins To Take Shape As Development Of Pralay, Nirbhay Missiles Complete, User Trials Soon

Ujjwal ShrotryiaMonday, April 17, 2023 2:28 pm IST
The Pralay missiles.
The Pralay missiles.

India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has completed the development of the Pralay and Nirbhay long range missiles, reported the Hindustan Times.

After the completion of development trials of both the missiles, user trials of both these missiles will commence soon. According to a news report, the Defence Ministry will approve an order for acquisition of 250 Pralay land attack ballistic missiles.

This is in addition to the 120 missiles already approved in December last year, taking the total number of missiles ordered to 370. These missiles will further strengthen India's rocket forces.

India first tested the Pralay missile on 22 December 2021, and the second time on the following day.

Pralay is a surface-to-surface missile (SSM) with a range of 150-500 kilometres. It can carry a warhead of anywhere between 350-700 kilograms.

The missile follows a quasi-ballistic trajectory, which increases the chances of the missile successfully penetrating enemy defences. It will primarily be used to hit targets such as ammunition dumps, petrol, oil, and lubricants depots, command and control nodes, air bases, and hardened targets.

Nirbhay missile, on the other hand, is a long-range cruise missile with a range of more than 1,000 kilometres. The missile uses a turbofan engine to power itself for the entire duration of flight.

The missile travels at a maximum speed of 0.7 mach with terrain hugging and sea-skimming capabilities to avoid detection from the enemy's radars and early-warning systems.

Just two months ago (21 February), Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile (ITCM) — a variant of Nirbhay missile, was successfully tested with the Made in India Manik Small Turbofan Engine (STFE) and an upgraded radio frequency seeker.

This was the third test of the ITCM, which followed a failed test in October last year due to engine issues.

India already operates the Indo-Russian BrahMos long-range supersonic cruise missiles. Earlier, last month (March), the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh approved a proposal to buy more than 200 BrahMos missiles for more than Rs 20,000 crore.

The BrahMos missile is a 3-tonne, 8.9 m long cruise missile which travels at a maximum speed of more than 2.9 mach and carries a warhead of 300 kg aimed at targets 290 kilometres away. Newer variants can hit targets at a maximum range of 450-500 kilometres.

These costly, $5 million a piece, BrahMos missiles as well as the cheaper Pralay and Nirbhay missiles will make a significant addition to the Indian rocket forces and serve as an instrument of deterrence against the Chinese own rocket forces which is reported to be one of the world's largest.

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