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India to test Prithvi-II missile on Sunday

The test comes four months after the failed test firing of the intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) Agni-III.

india Updated: Nov 18, 2006 21:47 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

Indian defence scientists are all set to test-fire the nuclear-capable air force version of the surface-to-surface missile Prithvi-II on Sunday from a base in Orissa, defence sources said.

The test comes four months after the failed test firing of the intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) Agni-III.

The scientists are not taking any chances for Sunday's test from the integrated test range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea, about 150 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, and there were indications that the preparations had been underway for over a month.

"This missile will be test-fired from a mobile launcher from the Launching Complex 3 in the ITR campus. And we hope the countdown will be started as per the schedule," a defence scientist said on condition of anonymity.

Prithvi is one of the five missiles developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme of the DRDO.

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 will be shifted to two temporary shelters for a day, district information and public relations officer Pramod Kumar Mallick said.

"They will be evacuated on Sunday morning and will spend the day at Bardhanpur ME School and Jayadevkasaba School. As per the provisions, each person above 12 will receive a compensation of Rs 145 while children will receive Rs 80 each. Similarly, Rs 10 each will be provided for the cattle," he said.

First Published: Nov 18, 2006 21:47 IST