Pralay SSM : India’s New Tactical Short Range Ballistic Missile System

With China’s People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) fielding a sizeable inventory of conventionally armed BMs in Tibet, the Indian Army (IA) wants to deploy symmetric counters to the same.  At the moment, the only means for the IA to strike targets at distances of close to 500 km is the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile (CM), which though deadly accurate, can carry a payload of only about 200 kg or so, besides being somewhat expensive. As such, the IA in recent times has felt the need for a SRBM with a range of around 500 km that can also carry a sizeable payload. It is to address this requirement DRDO in 2015 was tasked to develop a new mobile short-range ballistic missile dubbed ” Pralay ” which has the ability to carry several different conventional warheads.

India is all set to conduct the maiden test of its brand new surface-to-surface tactical Short Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM) developed under a classified project, code-named Pralay.Elaborate preparation is underway as the missile will be flight tested from a canister mobile launcher any time between September 20 and 22 from a defence test facility off Odisha coast.

Pralay SSM will have a range of 350km which can carry a payload of 1000kgs. Pralay with a light payload of 500kg will be able to hit a target as far as 400km.Pralay was developed to counter deployment of Dongfeng 12 (DF-12) short-range tactical ballistic missile bordering India by the Chinese Army. Dongfeng 12 (DF-12) is said to be having a range of 100-250 with an actual possible range of as much as 400 km.

DF-12 are configured in dual launch configuration aboard an 8×8 truck chassis making them highly mobile. DF-12 is a tactical missile system designed to be used in theater level conflicts to be used on hostile fire weapons, air and anti-missile defenses, command posts and communications nodes and troops in concentration areas, among others.

Pralay mobile short-range ballistic missile will have strike range between 300-500 km and will be designed to fly faster and will be maneuverable to counter missile defence systems. Pralay Missile system will also be getting a Canister Mobile Launcher based on aboard an 8×8 truck chassis.

“The experimental trial is aimed at validating the technologies incorporated in the system for the first time and gauging the fire power. If weather permits, the missile will be test fired as scheduled,” he told this paper over phone from New Delhi.

Indigenously designed and developed by DRDO, the missile is a derivative of Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) exo-atmospheric interceptor missile, capable of destroying enemy weapons at high altitudes.Pralay, which is much faster and accurate, has a strike range of 350 km to 500 km and weighs around five tonne. With a payload of 1000 kg, it can travel a distance of 350 km. If the payload is halved, the missile will be able to hit a target as far as 500 km.

Fuelled by composite propellant and developed by Pune-based High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), it uses inertial navigation system for mid-course guidance.Since India’s most of the SRBMs are for strategic strike purposes, development of tactical Pralay was necessitated after the army sought for a 500-km range SRBM that can carry a sizable payload.

With Pralay, Indian Army wants to be less dependent on Air Force for precision bombing in theater level conflicts to suppress enemy’s capability to wage war by attacking their command posts, communications nodes, large troops in concentrated areas and other active military units in areas.

Pralay will also carry on-board inertial navigation system (INS) and will carry a warhead weighing under 800kgs with a circular error probable (CEP) of less than 10 meters. Pralay will also have unconventional flight profile and will have the ability to change directions to make it more unpredictable and raise difficulty level for Air Defence Systems and mobility of the launch platform also makes a launch difficult to prevent.

Pralay Missile project is actually the development of the Lottering Missile with the supersonic PGM and act as the mother cruise missile that can deliver the weapons and have more lottering time than the Brahmos or Nirbhay. Pralay be not be used for attacking air bases or radar stations. Pralay’s targets are those ground-based weapons that can be ground-launched within a 2-hour timeframe. Pralay is the same as the ‘Boomerang’ that’s been touted by some others.

DRDO is also developing Pakistan-centric nuclear missile called Agni-1P which will replace Prithvi and Agni-1 and will have a range of 300 to 700 kilometers. Agni-1P will be a two-stage, solid propellant missile with relatively latest technology which will vastly improve its accuracy but relatively will be reserved for High-value targets.

Pralay short-range tactical ballistic missile will have the same role as DF-12 in Indian Army and the missile system is likely to be tested in 2018.





Credits to saurav Jha
Saurav Jha is the Editor-in-Chief of Delhi Defence Review. Follow him on twitter @SJha1618

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