Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Prahaar Missile

Prahaar (Sanskrit:प्रहार, Strike) is a solid fueled surface-to-surface guided short-range tactical ballistic missile by DRDO of India. It would be equipped with omni-directional warheads and could be used for hitting both tactical and strategic targets 

DEVELOPMENT

The Prahaar is the latest missile to be added to India's arsenal of ballistic missiles and was developed keeping in mind the Indian Army's 'Cold Start' doctrine, which envisions a rapid thrust by armored regiments into Pakistan in the event of a provocation. The Prahaar would play a key role in disrupting and destroying enemy infrastructures as well as lines of communication before Indian ground forces move in.

The missile was developed with two main factors in mind:, accuracy and rapid response. Accuracy was important as it allows for the targeting of individual, 'tactical' targets, as opposed to an artillery strike or rocket barrage which is usually directed at broader areas of impact. The Prahaar is also designed to carry various types of sub-munitions or a unitary warhead. For example, it will be able to carry up to 400 AT/AP bomblets, scatterable mines, anti-runway munitions and similar loads, making it effective for a wide number of targets. The Prahaar's payload compartment is being developed by the DRDO in cooperation with Israel Aircraft Industries' (IAI) MLM Systems Integration Division and Israel Military Industries' (IMI) Rocket Systems Division.

The Prahaar was first test launched on 21st July, 2011 from the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur. The DRDO reported that the missile took off, reached a height of 35 kilometers, and hit a designated target in the Bay of Bengal 150 kilometers away with an accuracy of 10 meters. The total flight time was 250 seconds, or just under four minutes. The Prahaar fulfilled all test parameters.


DESCRIPTION

The Prahaar is a solid fueled single stage missile with which the Indian Army hopes to fill a crucial gap in it's surface-to-surface arsenal. As of now the Army can choose to either use it's Pinaka and Smerch Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers (MBRLs) for ground bombing or for a bigger punch choose the Prithvi missile which can carry warheads of more than 500 kg. However, there is a large gap between the MBRLs and the Prithvi, and it is precisely this gap which the Prahaar is to fill. Unlike the unguided rockets launched by the Pinaka or Smerch, each Prahaar missile is guided and has an accuracy of ±10 meters over a range of 150 kilometers.

The Prahaar missile system comes in sets of six missiles, all sharing the same launcher. With this, the missiles can either be fired singularly, or in a salvo with single and multiple target designations. The Prahaar missile system is intended for use primarily by the Army against enemy targets deep within enemy lines. Until now this role has fallen on the Indian Air Force, at the cost of many pilots' lives as well as lost aircraft, the Prahaar should greatly reduce the burden on the IAF in this regard. For this purpose it is speculated that even the Air Force would be interested by the Prahaar Missile system.

LAUNCH PLATFORMS

The Prahaar has been designed with mobility in mind and therefore it's primary launcher is a 8 x 8 Tatra Transporter Erector Launcher which has been developed by Tata. This is better known as the Road Mobile System which includes 6 separately enclosed Prahaar missiles as well as a state of the art command centre which allows for seamless communication between decision makers and the Prahaar missile batteries. As a result of this, once the launch command is given it takes less than 10 minutes for the missiles to hit their intended targets. Another aspect of the launcher is that missiles can be launched in any direction across the entire azimuth-plane, thereby eliminating the need to spend precious time maneuvering the launcher.

SPECIFICATIONS

Weight: 1280 kg
Length: 7.3 meters
Diameter: 0.42 meter
Warhead:200 kg
Propellant: Solid
Operational range: 150 km
Speed: Mach 2.03 (2160 km/h)
Launch platform: 8 x 8 Tatra Transporter Erector Launcher

No comments: