Balasore: After a few postponements, Indian missile scientists have successfully test-fired the indigenously developed Dhanush missile, a naval, nuclear-capable, version of the Prithvi short-range ballistic missile. The test was carried out in the Bay of Bengal, off the coast of Orissa, on Friday, according to defence sources.
'The missile was test fired in the Bay of Bengal from INS Rajput that was positioned nearly 60 km from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur at around 2.30 p.m.," defence sources said.
Developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Programme (IGMP) by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Dhanush reportedly has a 250-km range and can carry a single warhead weighing up to 750 kg.
However, there is no authoritative technical data available about the Dhanush.
It is widely acknowledged to be a version of the already inducted Prithvi surface-to-surface missile system, though there is confusion if it resembles the Prithvi-II or is in fact the Prithvi-III. There is also a debate about the technology that the Dhanush incorporates - if it is a continuation of the Prithvi series or brings in different technologies given its naval profile. It is also not confirmed whether the Dhanush can be deployed only onboard ships or is also capable of submarine deployment.
The range apparently varies between 250-350km, depending on the size of the warhead it carries.
Reportedly, the missile's warheads are nuclear, high explosive, or sub-munitions. It can also be equipped with multiple payloads, to be dispensed by the missile during its flight. The use of high-explosive and sub-munition warhead would enable the Dhanush to be used against airfields, manufacturing complexes, and military units, as well as enemy ships.
Reportedly the missile weighs between 4,000 and 4,600 kg and uses a single-stage, liquid-propellant engine. It is also stated in some quarters that the missile has an accuracy of 50m CEP (circular error probability).
The Dhanush ship-launched version was first tested in April 2000.
The test of Dhanush comes on the back of earlier tests of the indigenous air-to-air missile Astra from the Chandipur test range on March 25, 26 and 29.