india Dhanush

Dhanush (Jane's Strategic Weapon Systems)
Originated From:India
Possessed By:India
Basing:Ship or submarine launched
Length:8.53 m
Diameter:1.0 m
Launch Weight:5600 kg
Payload:Single warhead, 500-1000 kg
Warhead:Nuclear, HE, submunitions, FAE, or chemical
Propulsion:Single-stage liquid propellant
Range:250-350 km
In Service:2010?

Despite many news reports about the Dhanush missile in the last few years, relatively little is known about the missile program. Consensus suggests that the missile is a short-range, ship-based, ballistic missile – probably with a liquid propellant base – that is the naval version of India’s Prithvi SS-150 missile. 1

Development on the Prithvi missile program began in 1983. The first Prithvi test launch took place in 1988 and the first two generations of Prithvi missiles, the SS-150 and SS-250, became operational in the 1990s. They are both TEL-based liquid-propellant SRBMs. In 2000 the first Dhanush missile was tested from a patrol vessel. This missile is believed to be similar to the SS-150, but equipped for launching off the deck of the Sukanya-class patrol vessel. 2

According to most reports, the initial launch was a failure. 3 Since that time, the missile program has launched about seven different test missiles. 4 Most of these launches were successful including tests in December 2009 and March 2010. The Press Information Bureau of the Indian Government described development on the Danush missile in May 2010 as complete. 5 The most recent successful test occurred in March 2011. 6 Upwards of 30 Dhanush missiles are thought to have been ordered for the Sukanya-class vessels.

The exact dimensions and performance of the Dhanush missile program are not well known. Jane’s Defense & Security Intelligence & Analysis estimates that the length is 8.56 m, with a body diameter of 1.0 to 1.1, and a launch weight of 4.000 to 5,600 kg. The payload is presumed to be 500 to 1000 kg, with various warhead options including HE, submunitions, FAE, or chemical. It is powered by a single-stage liquid propellant and guided by an inertial system or GPS. The range is estimated in between 150 and 350 km, with an accuracy of 50 m CEP. Some sources suggest the accuracy is 25 m CEP. 7

  1. Lennox, Duncan. “Prithvi (SS-150/-250/-350) (P-1/P-2/P-3) and Dhanush.” Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Offensive Weapons). February 12, 2012. (accessed September 12, 2012).
  2. Ibid.
  3. “Crash Ends Maiden Flight of India’s Dhanush Missile,” Jane’s Missiles and Rockets, 1 June 2000.
  4. “’Dhanush missile successfully test-fired,” The Times of India, 14 December 2009, available at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Dhanush-missile-successfully-test-fired/articleshow/5332894.cms.
  5. “Major DRDO Projects / Programmes which are yet to be completed,” a table published by the Press Information Bureau of the Government of India, available at http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=61315, accessed on 27 July 2010.
  6. Bedi, Rahul. “India Successfully Test-fires Dhanush Ballistic Missile.” Jane’s Defence Weekly. March 3, 2011. (accessed September 12, 2012).
  7. Lennox, Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Offensive Weapons); Fuller, Malcolm. “Dhanush.” Jane’s Naval Weapon Systems. April 24, 2012. (accessed September 12, 2012).
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