Facts

India/U.S. Designation Prithvi
Missile Variants Prithvi 1/Prithvi 2/Sagarika
Mobility and Role Road-mobile/surface-to-surface/short-range ballistic missile
Designer/Producer India/Europe
Range 150-250km
Warhead Type and Weight Nuclear or Conventional/1000kg
MIRV and Yield No MIRV capabilities/170kt
Guidance System/Accuracy Inertial/50m CEP
Stages/Propellant Single/Liquid
IOC/Retirement 1994/Still in servce
Status/Number of Units Operational/ N/A

Development

Privthi 1 is one of India’s first short-range ballistic missiles. Development began in 1983, with the missile’s technology derived from the Soviet SA-2. [1]  Privthi 1 is a road mobile, single stage, liquid fueled missile with a range of around 150 km. [2]   It has an estimated conventional payload of 1,000 Kg. [3] This missile was developed by India’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. India first tested the missile in February 1988. [4] The missile, at various stages of development, has been tested twenty times since its initial test.[5]Serial production began between 1994 and 1997. [6] There have been an estimated 75 missiles produced. [7]   In service since 1994, and  there are plans to withdraw this missile from service due to its age and replace it newer Prahar missiles as of July 2013. [8]

A longer-ranged variant in the Privthi family is Privthi 2, which has a 250 km range and an estimated 500-700 Kg payload. [9] This missile was test fired on January 27, 1996, [10] formally entering into service in 2003.[11] It is currently under the jurisdiction of the Indian Air Force. [12]  On March 28, 2014, the Indian military had successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable Prithvi-II surface to surface missile. [13]

Strategic Implications

This missile’s short range limits it to almost exclusively Pakistani targets. It can strike almost a quarter of Pakistani territory including Islamabad and other major cities. [14] The Prithvi I is nearing the end of its operational life. Due to advancing technology this missile is considered inaccurate and obsolete. Some of the Prithvi Is will be taken out of service entirely however some will be modified to be used at longer ranges. [15] The Prithvi I is nuclear capable and can be considered to be a regional deterrent toward Pakistan. [16]  The longer ranged Prithvi II still is limited toward Pakistani engagements; moreover, this missile has the ability to strike almost all major military targets and most major cities. [17] However the short range of the missile prevents the missiles from being an effective deterrent to powers outside the countries immediately surrounding India. [18]


References

[1] “Prithvi,” Federation of American Scientists, accessed June 20, 2014,http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/india/missile/prithvi.htm.

[2] “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.

[3] “Prithvi,” Federation of American Scientists, accessed June 20, 2014,http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/india/missile/prithvi.htm.

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] Tamir Eshel, “After 17 Years in Service, the Prithvi i Missile Will Give Way to Smaller and Better Prahar,” Defense Update, July 1, 2013, accessed June 20, 2014,  http://defense-update.com/20130701_prahar_to_replace_privthi.html#.U6SBR_ldUeg .

[9] 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.

[10] Prithvi,” Federation of American Scientists, accessed June 20, 2014,http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/india/missile/prithvi.htm.

[11] “India successfully test-fires nuclear-capable Prithvi II missile,” NDTV, March 28, 2014, accessed June 20, 2014,http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/india-successfully-test-fires-nuclear-capable-prithvi-ii-missile-501322.

[12] Prithvi,” Federation of American Scientists, accessed June 20, 2014,http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/india/missile/prithvi.htm.

[13] Ibid

[14] “Prithvi,” Federation of American Scientists, accessed June 20, 2014,http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/india/missile/prithvi.htm.

[15] Prakash Nanda, “Time to Say Good Bye to Prithvi Missiles?,” Indian Defense Review, accessed June 20, 2014,http://www.indiandefencereview.com/news/time-to-say-good-bye-to-prithvi-missiles/ .

[16] Ibid

[17] “Prithvi,” Federation of American Scientists, accessed June 20, 2014, http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/india/missile/prithvi.htm .

[18] Ibid

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