India on Sunday successfully test-fired the nuclear-capable air force version of the surface-to-surface Prithvi-II missile from a defence base in Orissa, official sources said.
The missile was test-fired at 9.55 am from a mobile launcher at the Launching Complex 3 of the integrated test range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea in the coastal district of Balasore, about 150 km from capital Bhubaneswar.
Prithvi is one of the five missiles developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme of the DRDO.
The test comes four months after the failed test firing of the intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) Agni-III.
Describing the latest test as routine, an ITR official said several top officials of the DRDO and defence scientists witnessed the test.
They include Chief Controller Research and Development (CCR&D) of the DRDO and programme director of Prithvi-2 V Saraswat and director of Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad Dr Prahallad.
First tested in 1988, the Prithvi-I has a range of 150 km and can carry conventional or low-yield nuclear warheads.
It is believed to be designed for battlefield use against troops or armoured formations. Its two variants, the Prithvi-II and Prithvi-III, have a range of up to 250 km and 350 km respectively.
A surface-to-surface missile, Prithvi is driven by liquid propellant. It has an inertial navigation guidance system on board, which enables it to stick to its trajectory.
The Prithvi-II was first tested by the DRDO in January 1996. It flew 250 km and reportedly landed accurately at a pre-determined point in the Bay of Bengal.
As many as 2,786 people from 600 families in five villages surrounding the ITR campus were shifted to two temporary shelters for a day prior to the testing, a district official said.