About: Ballistic missiles
- A ballistic missile is a missile with a high, arching trajectory (path in the form of an arc), which is initially powered and guided, but falls under gravity on to its target.
- Thus these weapons are not guided for the entire duration of their flight and most of the flight is unpowered.
- These weapons are in a distinct category from cruise missiles, which are guided in a powered flight.
In Focus: Prithvi missile
- Prithvi is a surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
- It was developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) and is deployed by India’s Strategic Forces Command.
- Developed as a battlefield missile, Prithvi can carry a nuclear warhead in its role as a tactical nuclear weapon.
- Prithvi I is a single-stage liquid-fuelled surface-to-surface ballistic missile. It has a maximum warhead carrying capability of 1,000 kg, with a range of 150 km.
- This class of Prithvi missile was inducted into the Indian Army in 1994.
- Prithvi II is also a single-stage liquid-fuelled missile. It is capable of carrying 500 to 1,000 kg of warheads, with an extended range of 350 km.
- The state-of-the-art missile uses an advanced inertial guidance system, that helps to manoeuvre (guide) its trajectory, to hit its target.
- It has been inducted into India’s Strategic Forces Command in 2003.
- Prithvi III is a two-stage surface-to-surface missile, with a solid fuelled first stage and liquid fuelled second stage.
- The missile can carry a 1,000 kg warhead to a distance of 350 km and a 500 kg warhead to a distance of 600 km and a 250 kg warhead up to a distance of 750 km.
About: Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP)
- India launched the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program in 1983 to achieve self-sufficiency in the development and production of a wide range of missiles.
- The main agencies responsible for development of this programme were Defence Research Development Organization (DRDO) and Ordnance Factories.
- IGMDP has developed five missiles and their variants: Prithvi, Agni, Akash, Trishul, and Nag.
- The DRDO formally announced the successful completion of IGMDP in 2008.
About: Strategic Forces Command (SFC)
- The Strategic Forces Command (SFC), also called as the Strategic Nuclear Command, forms part of India’s Nuclear Command Authority (NCA).
- Created in 2003, it is responsible for the management and administration of the country’s tactical and strategic nuclear weapons stockpile.
- The SFC exercises complete command and control over nuclear assets, and creates plans as needed to fulfill the required tasks.
- It is the responsibility of the Strategic Forces Command to operationalize the directives of the NCA.
About: Nuclear Command Authority
- The Nuclear Command Authority of India is the authority responsible for command, control and operational decisions regarding India’s nuclear weapons programme.