Pranash - Close Range Ballistic Miasile
India has started development of a 200-km strike range tactical ballistic missile 'Pranash' to be used by the Army and the Air Force for destroying enemy targets at close ranges. The Pranash missile will be propelled by a single-stage solid propellant engine. It is developed to provide Indian Army a cost-effective, all-weather and all-terrain battle field support system. Finally, as the missile is powered by solid rocket motors it can be stored in a state of constant readiness.
"DRDO is developing the 200-km strike range Pranash ballistic missile which would be used for tactical battlefields," Defence officials said at DefExpo 2020, a military systems’ exhibition organised by the Department of Defence Production that seeks to project India as hub for global defence manufacturing. “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 missile would be an improved version of the 150-km strike range Prahar/Prahaar missile which was developed for tactical missions. The trials of the missile would be conducted in next couple of years and the single-stage solid-propellant missile would also be readied for the exports to friendly foreign countries as its strike range is within the permissible limits of international regimes on missile sales. 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).
DRDO’s short-range Prithvi missiles with ranges of 150 to 350 km are nuclear-capable and powered by a liquid propellant engine. Missiles with solid propellant engine are ready-to-use, while liquid propellant engines can be complicated as the liquid propellants have to be added before the launch.
Pranash could 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. With Pranash the mission can be accomplished with a high degree of success, thus preventing fighter pilot loss. A barrage of missiles would be good enough to take out air fields and infantry columns deep inside enemy territory. It was reported that Pranash would be equipped with a fibre-optic gyro based inertial navigation system and positioning capability (NavIC) giving a high precision circular error possibility of around 10 meters.
One compelling advantage of Pranash is that it is hard to intercept by anti aircraft defence systems, and Pakistan presently doesn't have an anti-missile interceptor to counter tactical missiles like the Prahaar and Pranash. Another advantage of the Pranash is its high mobility which can be transported to any location along the border (including China's) within a short time. When the missiles are canistered as battery units the would greatly establish its potency with suitable kinds 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.
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 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.
Pranash could be exported to friendly foreign countries if it meets the goal of being one of the cheapest missiles in the world in its range category. The missile is outside the limits of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which places export restrictions on missiles with ranges of more than 300 km.