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India to Approve Tactical Ballistic Missile Acquisition: Report

India is set to acquire a tactical surface-to-surface ballistic missile capable of striking targets up to 500 kilometers (311 miles) away.

The military’s proposal to acquire the conventionally-armed Pralay missile could be approved at a meeting this week, Asia News International revealed, citing sources.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation completed flight tests of the missile in December 2021 following four years of development.

Difficult to Intercept

The solid propellant rocket-powered missile flies on a “quasi-ballistic trajectory,” making it difficult to intercept. Its guidance includes a “state-of-the-art navigation system and integrated avionics,” according to an Indian Ministry of Defence statement.

The missile can strike targets such as “troop and vehicle concentrations, logistic dumps and bases at ranges beyond the Prithvi and Brahmos missiles,” India Today explained

The missile is intended to replace the Prithvi, inducted in the early 1990s.

Key Piece of Future Rocket Force

Research Fellow at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank, Antoine Levesques, wrote that the Pralay’s versatility and low cost could allow it to play an “important role” in India’s future rocket force.

India’s former Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, revealed last year that the military had been thinking of establishing a rocket force to boost its firepower.

Low Cost, Early Induction

Levesques noted that the missile is a derivative of India’s K series of submarine-launched ballistic missiles, sharing their subsystems. 

“As the Pralay utilizes existing subsystems from the K-15 and K-4 SLBMs, it is likely this will drive down unit costs,” he added.

“These shared technical features might also mean the Pralay system will require fewer launch tests before entering service.”

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