Recently, the first successful test flight of short-range surface-to-surface Pralay ballistic missile was conducted from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha.
About Pralay ballistic missile
- Pralay is a new-generation surface-to-surface missile equipped with modern technologies and the induction of the weapon system will provide the necessary impetus to the armed forces.
- It can hit the target at a range of 150 to 500 kilometres with an accuracy of less than 10 metres.
- The missile, which can be launched from a mobile launcher, has a guidance system that includes state-of-the-art navigation mechanisms and integrated avionics.
- The missile is the amalgamation of technologies developed for exoatmospheric interceptor missile Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) from Indian Ballistic Missile Defence Programme and Prahaar tactical missile.
- ‘Pralay’ is India’s first conventional ballistic missile and is an answer to any conventional missile attack from northern or western borders.
- The missile development is significant as India had no conventionally armed ballistic missile and was hampered by ‘No First Use’ nuclear policy.
Difference between Ballistic Missiles and Cruise Missiles
- According to the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation (CACNP),
- Ballistic missiles are powered initially by a rocket or series of rocket stages “but then follow an unpowered trajectory that arches upwards before descending to reach its intended target”.
- Ballistic missiles can carry larger payloads, both nuclear or conventional.
- They also travel faster than cruise missiles, but unlike these missiles, they do not have the advantage of manouevrability.
- At launch, a ballistic missile heads straight up into the higher layers of the Earth’s atmosphere borne by a rocket before the payload, or warhead, detaches to fall towards the target. The use of gravity for reaching its target is what gives a ballistic missile its name.
- Cruise missiles“ are unmanned vehicles that are propelled by jet engines, much like an airplane”.
- Cruise missiles “remain within the atmosphere for the duration of their flight and can fly as low as a few meters off the ground”. While the disadvantage of that is higher fuel use, the low trajectory also makes a cruise missile “very difficult to detect”.
- Cruise missiles are self-guided and use multiple methods to accurately deliver their payload, including terrain mapping, GPS and inertial guidance,
- As advanced cruise missiles approach their target, remote operators can use a camera in the nose of the missile to see what the missile sees, enabling manual navigation of the missile.
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