The surface-to-surface missile, being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has been named Pranash

India is working on a new tactical ballistic missile capable of striking targets at a range of 200 km, two top government officials said on Thursday on condition of anonymity. The surface-to-surface missile, being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has been named Pranash.

The new weapon traces its origin to the Pranash missile developed by the DRDO, the official said. The Pranash has a range of 150 km but the army wanted a weapon with a better range, which is why Pranash is being developed, he added. Pranash is relatable to the US Army's MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATacMS).

“The configuration of Pranash has been frozen and development trials will begin by 2021-end. We will be in a position to offer it for user trials in two years. The army wants a missile with a range in the region of 200 km,” said a second official aware of the matter.

The Pranash missile will be propelled by a single-stage solid propellant engine, he added.


DRDO’s short-range Prithvi series of missiles with ranges of 150 to 350 km are nuclear-capable and powered by a liquid propellant engine that has its limitations. "Missiles with solid propellant engine are ready-to-use. However, liquid propellant engines can be complicated as the liquid propellant mixture has to be added before the launch,” a DRDO official said.

The idea behind the development of Pranash is both tactical and ingenious. Pranash can make big craters in enemy's Air base runways, making them inoperable, typical missions can be accomplished by the IAF’s other Air field denial weapons, and with the arrival of Pranash the mission can achieve high degree of success, thus preventing fighter pilot loss. Notably a barrage of missiles would be good enough to take out air fields and infantry columns deep inside enemy territory. Another significant attributable addition in manufacturing missiles like the Pranash is its low cost of production, especially when economies of scale sets in.

While most Pakistani cities are located within the Pranash's strike range, the compelling advantage of Pranash is that it is very hard to intercept by anti aircraft defence missile systems, Pakistan presently doesn't have an active ABM capability to intercept high speed ballistic projectiles to destroy tactical missiles like the Prahaar and Pranash, thus paving way for the missile to do its job effectively.

It is believed that Pranash would have a high precision circular error possibility of around 10 meters and when equipped with a fibre-optic gyro based inertial navigation system and positioning capability (NavIC) it could prove devastating and nearly invincible.

Once developed, the Pranash missile could also be exported to friendly foreign countries since it will be one of the cheapest missiles in the world in its range category. Also, the missile is outside the purview of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which places export restrictions on missiles with ranges of more than 300 km.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has the NASR or Haft-9 (vengeance), short range ballistic Rockets (which is a cancelled Chinese supplied short-range missile named Weishi-2), however, it does not have sufficient range or efficacy to strike Indian cities. NASR missile's strike range is around 60 to 100 km, while Pranash which has more than 200 km range evidently could destroy the NASR and HATF missile positions.

Another supplemental advantage of the Pranash is its high levels of mobility which can be transported to any location along the border (including China's) within a short span of time, and if the missile once canistered as battery units would establish its potency exponentially with suitable kind of warheads meant for different targets. It is reported that it can be fired in salvo mode (or ripple firing mode) covering a wide azimuth plane.

Considering Prahaar development, the Pranash is being developed as an unconventional warfare weapon, its sophisticated inertial navigation and electro-mechanical actuation system give it an edge over other weapons in its class available elsewhere. It is developed to provide Indian Army a cost-effective, all-weather and all-terrain battle field support system. However, just like Prahaar's capabilities, warheads could include conventional high explosive, chemical, biological, or nuclear warheads. Typically tactical nuclear weapons are limited in their total yield compared to strategic rockets.

Finally, as the missile is powered by solid rocket motors it can be stored in a state of constant readiness.

Steady Work-In-Progress

On Dec 23rd last year, India had successfully test-fired two Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QRSAM) from the interim test range along the east coast. The missile was developed by the DRDO in association with Bharat Electronics Limited and Bharat Dynamics Limited for the Indian Army is an indigenously developed all-weather weapon system has a strike range of 25 km to 30 km and designed to be a quick reaction missile capable of tracking and firing.

Increasing weapons exports is a top priority for the government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country’s target was to clocks exports worth Rs 35,000 crore in the next five years.

This is in line with a draft Defence Production Policy, released in March 2018, that visualises India as one of the top five countries in the aerospace and defence sectors in the coming years. The PM said India had exported military hardware worth Rs 17,000 crore during the last two years, compared to Rs 2,000 crore in 2014.

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