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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Prithvi Garrison [ probable ]
Research Center Imarat (RCI)

The Indian army has asked for 75 Prithvi-150s (range 150 km), but as of mid-1997 not more than two dozen had been delivered by Bharat Dynamics. An additional 25 Prithvi-250 missiles were ordered by the Indian Air Force. By 1996 an unspecified number of Prithvi's were believed to be in the possession of the Indian Army's 333 Missile Group, which was reportedly headquartered in Secunderabad. In April 1997, India moved some Prithvi missiles to prospective launch site at the Indo-Pakistan border near Jullundur, though these were subsequently withdrawn. The 333 Missile Regiment has trained on an indigenously-built simulator. Each battery consists of four Tatra transport-erector-launchers, a missile resupply-loading vehicle, a propellant tanker, a survey vehicle, and a firing command post.

The actual garrisons location for the Prithvi missiles is not disclosed in the open literature. Although it is reported that the 333rd Missile Group is headquartered in Secunderabad, it is evident that the military cantonment would be an inappropriate location for the actual missiles, given the urban congestion of the area. It was reported in June 1997 that India had moved some Prithvi missiles to a prospective launch site near the border in Punjab at Jullundur. However as of mid-1999 it was believed that these missiles had been withdrawn from this forward operating location to their permanent garrison in the Hyderabad area.

While the Research Center Imarat complex is primarily associated with research and development of technologies for missiles, aircraft and other advanced weapons, IKONOS imagery from early 2000 discloses a facility that is probably the primary Prithvi garrison. The association of this complex with the Prithvi missile system is the most probable interpretation, and alternative explanations for the function of this complex are not apparent. Although it is not possible to determine the number of missiles and associated vehicles present at the facility at the time the imagery was acquired, several vehicles of dimensions consistent with those associated with the Prithvi are in evidence, suggesting at least that the facility is currently in use.

The probable Prithvi garrison consists of three pairs of garages, along with a probable administrative area. An entry control area consists of a gate with probable visitor parking. Probable guard houses are located along the perimeter of the complex. The pairs of garages are of dimensions consistent with housing four vehicles apiece, which is consistent with each pair of garages housing a battery of four launchers [possibly in one garage] along with four support vehicles [possibly in the other garage].

In contrast to Pakistan's probable Shaheen missile main operating base at Sargodha, it is noteworthy that the probable Prithvi garrison complex is not evidently associated with facilities for an operational military unit. The Sargodha complex, in addition to garages, also includes an extensive support infrastructure, including administrative buildings and housing for personnel. There is evidently no housing for the personnel of the 333 Missile Group at this complex. The Research Center Imarat facility does include a complex of buildings immediately adjacent to the probable Prithvi garrison that is a possible administrative support facility for the Prithvi missiles. However, this complex is devoid of functional signatures that would support this interpretation, and is enclosed within a separate security perimeter that is suggestive of institutional associations unrelated to the Prithvi complex.

Satellite Imagery of a Prithvi Garrison [ probable ]



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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 04:40:21 ZULU