The Prahaar is a quick reaction battle field missile with a maximum range of 150 km that is comparable to Lockheed Martin's MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATacMS) Missile. The Prahaar missile fills the vital gap between Multi Barrel Rockets and a Medium range Ballistic Missile like Prithvi-II and Agni-1
The existence of the road mobile, tube launched ‘Prahaar' (to strike) 150 - 180 km range quick-reaction tactical missile was announced on Saturday, July 2, 2011.
The Missile system was developed by DRDO in less than two years to provide Indian Army a cost effective, quick reaction, all weather, all terrain, high accurate battle field support tactical system.
According to DRDO sources, India's interceptor missile AAD was converted into Prahaar. “That is why it has a range of 150 km,” they said. [via Hindu]
Scientific Adviser to the Defense Minister and Director General, Defense Research and Development Organisation, V.K. Saraswat told journalists about the missile on July 2 after inaugurating a new facility of Analogic Controls India Ltd. (ACIL) that manufactures electronic systems for mission critical defense and space applications. [ via Hindu ]
Dr. Saraswat said the missile would replace unguided rockets and “is going to be an excellent weapon" that would bridge the gap between Pinaka, a 40-km range multi-barrel rocket system, and the 350-km Prithvi-II, which had been converted into a strategic missile.
India also has 90-km range unguided rockets imported from Russia.
According to Dr. Sarsawat, the missile would be equipped with omni-directional warheads and could be used for hitting both tactical and strategic targets.
“With different types of warheads, you can have different types of missiles from the same launcher.”
Initially, the missile would be given to the Army and later to other services.
First test of the Prahaar July 21, 2011 from Launch Complex III, off Chandipur Coast, ITR, Balasore, Orissa.
Prahaar is a single stage, solid propellant missile with a length of 7.3 meters and diameter of 420 mm. The missile can be launched within minutes in all weather.
The missile weighs 1280 kg and has a 200 kg maneuvering warhead.
It is equipped with inertial navigation, on board flight computer guidance and electro mechanical actuation systems. It has a CEP of less than 10m.
Prahaar uses radar imaging for terminal homing.
The missile is launched from a Road Mobile System, which can carry six missiles at a time and can be fired in salvo mode in all directions covering the entire azimuth plane.
Multiple launchers can beinterlinked to deliver a near simultaneous Multi Axis Attack on the target with devastating effect.
The missile can fly different trajectories and strike targets and different ranges up to 150 km.
According to W. Selvamurthy, Chief Controller (Life Sciences), DRDO the missile "can image, take out multiple targets and can be moved to any place.”
According to Dr. Saraswat, “Prahaar is a unique missile because it has high manoeuvrability, very high acceleration and excellent impact accuracy. It will bridge the gap between the multi-barrel rocket system, Pinaka and the Prithvi missiles. Basically, it will be a battlefield support system for the Army.”
The first test of the missile took place on July 21, 2011 from Launch Complex III, off Chandipur Coast, ITR, Balasore, Orissa, and was a complete success.
The missile climbed to a height of 35 kms and reached its target at a range of 150 kms in about 250 seconds.
The launch was witnessed by Dr. V.K. Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to Raksha Mantri and Secretary Defence R & D, Lt. Gen Vinod Nayanar, AVSM, Director General of Artillery, IHQ of MoD (Army).
“We will be proving the missile for different ranges from short to medium ranges,” said Dr. Saraswat, who is also DRDO Director-General and Secretary, Defence R and D. “Today, we covered 150 km. After a couple of more flights, we will be ready for production.”
On January 15, 2012, Chief Controller R and D (Missiles and Strategic Systems) at DRDO, Avinash Chander, told the press that the Prahar missile was being put into weaponized mode. [via Hindu]
He was likely referring to the process of developing missile launchers and other support systems for use of the missile by the Army.
"It is the most cost—effective missile in its class. Army has shown good interest and we are sure it will get inducted," Mr. Chander said.
Prahaar is a guided missile with a CEP of less than 10m. It was developed from the AAD interceptor missile of India's BMD system and so it can be fired quickly, has high acceleration, has a maneuvering warhead with terminal guidance.
The missile can engage a target within minutes of the threat being first detected. It takes minutes to launch and reaches a target 150 kms away in about 4 mins (250 sec). The missile uses radar imaging for terminal homing making it suitable for use in all weather.
While first announcing the existence of the Prahaar on July 3, Dr. Sarsawat suggested the missile could be nuclear armed, saying it was capable of striking tactical or strategic targets.
Typically, ballistic missile are always capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Prahaar's 200 kg warhead capability certainly allows it to carry a modest sized nuclear warhead.
Interestingly, DRDO scientists have stated that the Prahaar is 'capable' of carrying conventional warhead, suggesting that it's primarily a nuclear missile.
Targeting information for the missile could be obtained using in service UAVS equipped with EO and radar imaging sensors in all weather.
The Prahaar missile appears to be designed to neutralize the threat posed to India's Cold War Strategy from Pakistan's Nasr, a 60km range tactical nuclear missile.
The Prahaar system has the ability to take out multiple targets in a salvo fire with each of the six missile imaging and finding its own target. Such a system would be required to takeout a mobile Nasr system by individually targeting each of its components - launcher, control vehicle, generator vehicle, etc.
By deploying the 150 km Prahaar missile along with its armor units, India could ensure that no Nasr batteries came within striking distance of the armor formations during a cold start response.
India's recent description of the 350 km range Prithvi-2 as a strategic missile had indicated a desire to distance itself from tactical nuclear weapons, in order not to lower the nuclear threshold in the subcontinent. However, Pakistan's development of the Nasr, which was first tested on April 19, 2011, may have left India with no option but to continue developing tactical nuclear missiles.