Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The First Missiles South Asian Giant

by Vladimir Shcherbakov

Continue the story of the defense capabilities of India which has made ​​impressive progress in building its own nuclear missile shield, designed to ensure reliable security for the country.

Indian military and political leadership at the time put in front of national research and design organizations the task to focus on the development of antitank guided missiles and air defense. But soon in New Delhi came to the conclusion that the provision of guaranteed superiority over potential enemy is impossible without tactical ballistic missiles, as well as the medium-and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, which can be equipped with nuclear warheads.

The legacy of "S-75 Dvina"

India's first "nuclear club" became a single-stage ballistic missile "Prithvi" with a range of 150 to 250 kilometers. Translated from the Hindi "Prithvi" means "Earth" - an allusion to the fact that the missile system is classified as ground-to-earth.

Experts of the Organization for research and development in the area of ​​defense (Defence Research and Development Organisation or DRDO) of India, who were instructed to create "Prithvi", taken as a basis for second-stage propulsion missiles of the Soviet anti-aircraft missile system S-75 Dvina. With regard to propulsion, the Indians, they took up before - in the framework of the Devil (Devil) and Valiant (Valian). The first involved the receipt of its own liquid propellant engine, based on similar engines of Soviet missiles and the subsequent development of missiles at its base. The second ended with the creation of a multi-stage ballistic missile with a maximum range of 1500 kilometers.

Today, there are two versions of the BM. One missile is less, and another long range. But on the payload of the first exceeds the second BM. Otherwise, both are almost identical.Modifications were designated Prithvi I and Prithvi II. Further work on missiles of the family are said to be conducted only within the missile defense program.

"Experts of the Organization for the Research and development in India's defense took as a basis for second-stage propulsion system of the Soviet SAM anti-aircraft missile system S-75"

"Prithvi" - a close coupled single-stage liquid ballistic missile with a detachable part of the warhead and inertial guidance system. In the middle part of the body established is wing X-shape; in the tail are four steering control (correction). Housing is made of aluminum alloy and covered with radio absorbing material (the first missile did not have this coating).The propulsion system consists of two liquid-propellant rocket engines, the fuel tank is made of aluminum and alloys. Fueling is performed, usually immediately before the start - tucked missile, according to Indian media specialist, you can store in this state only a few months. A distinctive feature of the Prithvi - the presence of a wing large enough area, thanks to which the missile can perform maneuvers in the terminal phase of flight for a trajectory correction and overcoming enemy anti-missile system.

Missile length - 8,55 (Prithvi I ), or 9.0 meters ( Prithvi II ), diameter - 1.10 meters, wingspan - 2,6 meters, the starting weight - about 4000 pounds. Minimum firing range - 40 miles max - 150 (Prithvi I ) or 250 (Prithvi II). Circular error probable - 0,1 per cent of the range.

BM inertial control system, can be pre-laying in the onboard computer to the six so-called turning points on the route to the final of its section. According to the developers, this should improve the ability to overcome missile defense system of the enemy, which also contributes to and use of special radar absorbing paint finish. At the last missiles were mounted receivers satellite navigation system (the Indian media indicate that including the reason why Delhi has agreed to broad cooperation with Russia on GLONASS program). On-board computer is based on dual-processor scheme. Missile control system has the ability to adjust the trajectory of its flight within 15 degrees.

Warhead weight - 1000 (Prithvi I), or 500 kilograms (Prithvi II). It may be normal or may present a tactical nuclear warhead capacity from 12 to 15 kilotons. Ordinary high-explosive fragmentation warhead with a pre-harvested striking elements (the damage radius - 250 m) is applied to poorly protected targets: for example, the positions of radar and missile systems IP, clusters of troops or armor and vehicles. Incendiary has a range of up to 500 meters. Cassette packed with bomblets or mines. A volume intended to incapacitate the runway (destroy up to 40-60 square meters. M concreted LNC band class 60) and other objects of airfields.

On the possibility of equipping the missile with nuclear warheads the head of DRDO and Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam after the nuclear tests in May 1998. Supposedly for Prithvi I made about 20, and for Prithvi II - At least 10 nuclear warheads.

Missile launcher family "Prithvi" is created on the chassis of the vehicle-terrain "Kolos" brand Tatra (TATRA Kolos) 4x4. Immediately before the start of PU with a rocket detached from the machine and stabilized at the starting position. Weight of an empty freight car starter "Kolos" - 13,800 pounds, length - 8.80 meters, width - 2,50 m, height of cab - 2,69 meter clearance - 425 mm. Engine - 12-cylinder diesel brand TATRA T-930-3 rated at 250 horsepower. Maximum speed - 80 mph. Fuel tank capacity - 520 liters. Overcoming obstacles: a vertical wall - up to 0.6 meters, Broad - a depth of 1,4 meters, slope - up to 30 degrees. The cabin has a system of protection against WMD.

Demonstration in honor of the republic

Prithvi was the first guided missile, which has been successfully developed and put into mass production in India without external support, if not considered to be used as a get primary propulsion knowledge of SAM complex "Dvina". Lack of liquid "Prithvi" - the need to refuel just before the launch, which may create some inconveniences in the field and significantly reduces the combat potential of the missile system. "Prithvi" was shown to the public at the military parade to mark the Republic Day on Jan. 26, 1994.

Creating a first modification of the  "Prithvi" began in 1983 under the Integrated development program guided missile weapons. For ground testing began four years later, but for the flight - February 25, 1988 the first on the ground in Sriharikote. The first launch of the BR Prithvi II was held at the test range in Balasore January 27, 1996.

It was supposed to take Prithvi I adopted by the Army by 1990. However, delays in the development of missiles and a number of unsuccessful startups (eg accident ended the sixth start in February of 1992) pushed the mass production of Prithvi I by mid-1994, at the same time complex enrolled into trial operation. By this time held seven test launches of BR, the last - May 5, 1992. In addition, in 1994, several missile firings conducted crews ST. So, in June launch, Prithvi I was carried out with rocket Chandipur test site (Chandipur) Combat field on the island Wheeler (Wheeler Island) at a distance of about 80 kilometers.

After a series of successful tests army command issued a developer and manufacturer of a contract for the supply of six missiles, and subsequently ordered an additional 75 missiles Prithvi I. The first 20 of BR were transferred to the customer by October 1995, they won the 333rd Missile Group (the place of permanent deployment - the city of Secunderabad).

If the Prithvi I (SS-150) entered service SV, the Prithvi II (SS-250) at the beginning - the Air Force (the first order - 25 missiles), and then ground troops. Argues that it is "air" modification "Prithvi II» was demonstrated at a military parade on the occasion of Republic Day in 1995.Formally adopting missile Prithvi II the Air Force only April 18, 2001 declared, speaking in the Indian Parliament, the then Defense Minister Jaswant Singh. He also said that it was only trial operation, and further purchases of the BR for this kind of national armed forces are not planned.

Currently located in Hyderabad venture company Bharat Daynemiks Limited (Bharat Dynamics Limited), the main contractor on the program BR family" Prithvi ", released only missile Prithvi II». Together with the company in "Prithvi" busy today a number of firms of subcontractors. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited »(HAL, Bangalore city) produces rocket engines and hull designs missiles. Bharat Aluminium, also known as "Balko» (Bharat Aluminum or Balco), produces the elements from aluminum alloys and hull design rockets.BEML (Bharat Earth Movers Ltd.) Delivers freight launchers and other machines on the basis of the truck, "Kolos". Production plant for the production of explosives and flammable substances "Hirki» (Khirkee, Pune) - the components of liquid fuel. Atomic Research Centre named Homi Bhabha engaged special warhead. Approximate cost of one burst missiles - at least 740,000 dollars (according to some reports, the missile "Prithvi II» cost all of $ 1.4 million).

Secret modernization

According to data published in a number of Indian media specialist, in the second half of the 90's Prithvi II was modernization, during which received a new high-energy fuel. This allowed to increase the weight of the warhead of 500 to 1000 pounds while maintaining the same range launch. Several sources said that the upgraded version has a solid-propellant motor. The first flight test of the modification of BM were held March 31, 2001 - Launch range was 250 kilometers (the total number of starts all variations of 'Prithvi' at the end of 2001 reached 17). However, there is likely this is not a modification of Prithvi II, but of an entirely new BM under the designation Prithvi III.

In early 2002, the missiles with the BM "Prithvi" were placed on active military duty. The decision was taken in the evaluation of military capabilities of the national armed forces during the December 2001 confrontation with Pakistan. In 2001, a series of tests to study the combat effectiveness of universal military unit which alternately equipped with warheads of various types: incendiary, cluster bombs, with a small caliber and intended to incapacitate the enemy airfield runway.

Rocket Force Indian Army, the Russian terminology relevant evidence missile brigade complexes with tactical or operational-tactical missiles, missile systems, "Prithvi" includes in its membership three missile divisions and three additional transport-launchers as a reserve commander of the group. To date, the command of Indian Army, according to public sources, has formed a minimum of three missile groups (333, 444 and 555 I-RGR). Thus, the total number of transport-launch vehicle of "Prithvi" various modifications in the Army may be about 45 units. Actually they, as claimed by the same Indian media specialist, not differing governmental engagement, today is even less - the main efforts are thrown on strategic missiles and missile establishment. Thus, the third group, the formation of which was announced in 2003, a long time existed only on paper. On each PU has a few missiles (up to five): states that by 2001 Indian industry has produced and delivered to the customer at least 120 BM family "Prithvi", then release the data missiles has been significantly reduced. At the same Indian sources claim that the national military-industrial complex can, if necessary, to produce three or four such missiles per month.

Gunpoint Islamabad

In case of Delhi in order to protect the state to place missile Prithvi "in the border areas of the state of Kashmir, Punjab and Gujarat, they will be able to strike at targets located in large parts of neighboring Pakistan, including Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Hyderabad (not to be confused with the eponymous city in India)”. For the first time missile battalion with  "Prithvi" took part in the teachings of Sun India's code-named "Shiv-Shakti" in December 1998.

It is noteworthy that after the January 2002 successful test of Agni I Scientific and Technical Advisor DRDO K. Shantanu made a statement in which he said that the  ”Prithvi" was never planned to use as the primary carrier of nuclear warheads. Such a problem is it intended to impose only in exceptional cases.

“So now we can say that the solid-fuel Agni I fully assumed the role of the means of delivering nuclear warheads, which was used on the liquid "Prithvi", - said the Indian nuclear scientist. As a result, the following stages of development of a family of missiles, "Prithvi" was the creation of ballistic missiles and sea-based interceptors for national missile defense system, but it's a topic for another conversation.


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