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Prithvi-II Missile

  • 12 Jan 2023
  • 4 min read

Why in News?

Recently, India carried out a successful test launch of tactical ballistic missile Prithvi-II from a test range off the Odisha coast.

What are the Key Highlights about Prithivi-II Missile?

  • About:
    • Prithvi-II is an indigenously developed Surface-to-Surface Missile Short-Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM), which has a range of around 350km and can carry a one tonne payload.
    • Prithvi II class is a single-stage liquid-fueled missile that has warhead mounting capability of 500 kg-1000kg.
    • The missile is a proven system and is capable of striking targets with a very high degree of precision.
    • The state-of-the-art missile uses an advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target.
    • It was initially developed for the Indian Air Force as its primary user and was later inducted into the Indian Army as well.
    • While the missile was inducted into India's Strategic Forces Command for the first time in 2003, it was the first missile developed under the IGMDP.
  • Developed by:

What are the Prithvi Missiles?

  • The Prithvi missile system comprises various tactical Surface-to-Surface Short-Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM).
  • Its development began in 1983, and it was India’s first indigenous ballistic missile.
  • It was first test-fired in 1988, from Sriharikota, SHAR Centre.
    • It has a range of from 150 to 300 km.
  • The naval variant of Prithvi I and Prithvi III class missiles have the code-name Dhanush.
  • The propulsion technology was likely based on the Soviet SA-2 surface-to-air missile.
    • Soviet SA-2 Surface-to-Air Missile:
      • Developed in the mid-1950s, the Soviet SA-2 surface-to-air missile was the first effective Soviet Union surface-to-air missile.
      • Developed as a missile for the battlefield, it could carry a nuclear warhead in its role as a tactical nuclear weapon.
  • The Prithvi I missiles have been in service with the Indian Army since 1994.
  • Prithvi II missiles have been in service since 1996.
  • Prithvi III having a more extended range of 350 km, was successfully test-fired in 2004.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question(PYQ)

Q. With reference to Agni-IV Missile, which of the following statements is/are correct? (2014)

  1. It is a surface-to-surface missile.
  2. It is fuelled by liquid propellant only.
  3. It can deliver one-tonne nuclear warheads about 7500 km away.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only 
(b) 2 and 3 only 
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (a)


  • Agni-IV is a nuclear-capable long-range ballistic missile of India, with a strike range of 4,000 km.
  • The indigenously developed Agni-IV is a two-stage surface-to-surface missile. It is 20 metres long with a weight of 17 tonnes. Hence, statement 1 is correct.
  • It is a two stage solid fuelled system that can carry a one-tonne nuclear warhead over a distance of 4,000 kilometres. Hence, statements 2 and 3 are not correct.
  • Therefore, option (a) is the correct answer.

Source: IE

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