India plans test firing of three more strategic missiles this month

High on a series of successful trials of indigenous weapon systems, India is all set to test fire a few more strategic missiles – home grown and joint venture project before wrapping up the year.

Defence sources said three missiles have been lined up for trials in next one week. While a user trial of short-range ballistic missile Prithvi-II by the armed forces has been scheduled on Wednesday, the Strategic Forces Command of the army will flight test long range ballistic missile Agni-IV on December 18.

A developmental trial of Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM) has been planned next week. “Prithvi-II trial will be conducted during night subjected to favourable weather condition. Thursday has also been kept reserve for the test firing. If everything goes as per plan, the MRSAM will be tested on December 22,” the source told TNIE.

Since Prithvi-II and Agni-IV are two proven missiles, the focus in on the successful trial of the MRSAM, jointly developed by Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

MRSAM surface-to-air missile

Powered by a dual-pulse solid propulsion system developed by DRDO, MRSAM has been designed to strike down enemy aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, missiles and rockets. Along with the advanced rotating phased array radar, it is equipped with an advanced active radar radio frequency seeker that helps detect moving targets in all weather conditions.

The 4.5-metre long nuclear capable missile weighs around 2.7 tonnes and can carry a payload of 60 kg. The missile launching platform includes a Multi-Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar (MFSTAR) for detection, tracking and guidance of the missile, which can destroy targets 70 km away. The DRDO is planning to extend the range of the missile upto 150 km with indigenous components.

Agni-IV ballistic missile
Agni-IV ballistic missile

“So far three trials of the missile have been conducted. The missile has maximum speed of Mach 2 and it possesses high degrees of manoeuvrability at target interception range. A team of defence scientists from Israel is camping here for the scheduled test firing,” the source added.

This will be third night trial of Prithvi-II this year. The missile having a strike range of 350 km has already been inducted in the armed forces. Similarly, the 20-metre long two-stage nuclear capable Agni-IV missile with a range of over 4,000 km can strike targets anywhere in South East Asia.

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