Pralay is a conventional tactical missile system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Sanctioned in March 2015, the missile is a derivative of Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) exo-atmospheric interceptor which is capable of destroying enemy weapons at high altitudes. With a payload of one tonne, the missile can strike targets 350 km away. It can travel up to 500 km if the payload is halved.
The missile's name is taken from Sanskrit pralaya, meaning dissolution or death or "melting away" (from laya: "to dissolve" and pra "away") - catastrophe, cataclysm. Pralaya describes the destruction of Universe that took place in the past and will take place in future. It also describes the time between two consecutive Pralayas The process of dissolution and destruction of the universe that takes place at the end of each age or kalpa and precedes a new creation. Mahapralaya stands for Great Dissolution. During each pralaya, the lower ten realms are destroyed, while the higher four realms, including Satya-loka, Tapa-loka, Jana-loka, and Mahar-loka are preserved. During each Mahapralaya, all 14 realms are destroyed. In the Samkhya philosophy, one of the six schools of classical Indian philosophy, Pralaya means "non-existence, a state of matter achieved when the three gunas are in perfect balance.
Flying at a faster speed then conventional missiles in its class, the five tonne missile can evade any ballistic missile defence system. Having a strike range similar to short range ballistic missile Prithvi, the indigenously developed weapon system has the capability to surprise enemy in any battlefield condition. Propelled by solid-fuel rocket, the missile will be launched from its own canister-based transporter erector launcher.
Fuelled by composite propellant and developed by Pune-based High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), it uses inertial navigation system for mid-course guidance. Since India’s most of the SRBMs are for strategic strike purposes, development of tactical Pralay was necessitated after the army sought for a 500-km range SRBM that can carry a sizable payload.
Pralay will also carry on-board inertial navigation system (INS) and will carry a warhead weighing under 800kgs with a circular error probable (CEP) of less than 10 meters. Pralay will also have unconventional flight profile and will have the ability to change directions to make it more unpredictable and raise difficulty level for Air Defence Systems and mobility of the launch platform also makes a launch difficult to prevent.
Defence scientists are optimistic about the weapon system as it has the capability to outperform China’s Dongfeng 12 and Russia’s 9K720 Iskande tactical missiles. The success would pave way for a series of developmental trials in 2019 before being handed over to the armed forces.
Cyclone Phethai cast a shadow on the maiden trial of newly developed surface-tosurface tactical missile ‘Pralay’. The December 2018 trial of the missile was deferred . All arrangements were in place for the flight test of the weapon system from Abdul Kalam Island. Despite several attempts, the mission team had to postpone it owing to inclement weather conditions and rough sea.
As per the earlier schedule, Navigational Area (Navarea) was issued on the Bay of Bengal and north east Indian Ocean for the developmental flight trial of the missile from Integrated Test Range (ITR) between 2.30 pm and 6.30 pm. As the launching complex witnessed overcast sky and sporadic rainfall, the test was postponed. Collection of data of any missile’s first test is as much important as its design. It is difficult to get exact data in such climate conditions.
Though several user trials of missiles had been conducted earlier in such conditions to gauge their allweather performances, the DRDO reportedly did not take any risk in this case as it was the first experimental trial of the missile.
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