Facts

India/U.S. Designation Dhanush
Missile Variants Prithvi-II
Mobility and Role Ship-based/surface-to-surface/Short-Range Ballistic Missile
Designer/Producer India
Range 400km
Warhead Type and Weight Nuclear or Conventional/500-1,000kg
MIRV and Yield No MIRV capabilities/
Guidance System/Accuracy Inertial/GPS/25m CEP
Stages/Propellant Single/Liquid
IOC/Retirement 2001/Still in service
Status/Number of Units Operational/ N/A

Development

The Prithvi II variant (Dhanush) is a ship based ballistic missile system. [1] It typically carries a 500kg conventional payload. [2]  The U.S. Air Force places the range of the Dhanush at an estimated 400 km, although most other reports have the Dhanush with an estimated range of 350km. [3] The testing of this weapon was planned to begin in 1998. [4] However, its first flight test was in 2000 was a failure. [5] It was first successfully tested in September 21, 2001. [6] This missile is used exclusively by the Indian Navy. The Indian navy wants to develop a longer range version so that the Indian Navy can use it to  attack land targets. In November, 2013 nuclear capable Dhanush was reported to be successfully tested from a warship. [7] However, the mission objectives were not stated, leading to some doubt of the accuracy results. The open source community believes that the Dhanush is still in development though Indian military officials have claimed that it is inducted into the full military forces. [8]

Strategic Implications

While the completion of the Dhanush missile would be a capability boost to India, some analysts do not see it being an effective deterrent due to its range. [9] For instance, the range would require an Indian vessel to travel to the South or East China Sea to strike at China.  The navy’s acquisition of such a missile could increase their participation in anti-piracy operations near the Gulf of Aden. A significant number of Indian ships pass through that region and carry oil and fertilizers which total annually about $50 billion and $60 billion respectively. [10]  India has entered into anti-piracy agreements with both the European Union and various island nations like the Maldives in order to promote security cooperation in the region. [11]


References

[1] “Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat,” Air Force ISR Agency, accessed June 20, 2014,http://www.afisr.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-130710-054.pdf.

[2] Hans Kristensen, “Indian Nuclear Forces 2012,” Bulletin for the Atomic Scientist, August, 2012, accessed June 20, 2014, http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1177/0096340212451431.

[3] “Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat,” Air Force ISR Agency, accessed June 20, Hans Kristensen, “Indian Nuclear Forces 2012,” Bulletin for the Atomic Scientist, August, 2012, accessed June 20, 2014, http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1177/0096340212451431.

2014,http://www.afisr.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-130710-054.pdf.

[4] “Sagarika/dhanush,” Federation of American Scientists, accessed June 20, 2014,http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/india/missile/sagarika.htm.

[5] Ibid

[6] “Dhanush Test-Fired in Bay of Bengal,” Times of India, 2007, accessed June 20, 2014,http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Dhanush-test-fired-in-Bay-of-Bengal/articleshow/1834913.cms

[7] “Dhanush Missile Soars Successfully,” The Hindu, accessed June 20, 2014,http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/dhanush-missile-soars-successfully/article5385038.ece.

[8] “Country Profile India: Missiles,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, accessed June 27, 2014, http://www.nti.org/country-profiles/india/delivery-systems/.

[9] Hans Kristensen, “Indian Nuclear Forces 2012,” Bulletin for the Atomic Scientist, August, 2012, accessed June 20, 2014, http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1177/0096340212451431.

[10] Angana Roy, “India’s Anti-Piracy Operations: In Focus,” Voice of India, accessed June 27, 2014,http://voiceof.india.com/in-focus/indian-navys-anti-piracy-operations/538.

[11] Ibid

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