NEW DELHI, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- In quick succession, India test-fired short-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
The two advanced versions of the Prithvi-II surface-to-surface ballistic missiles have a range of up to 217 miles. They were launched from Chandur in the east state of Orissa into the Bay of Negal.
"The two P-II missiles, which can carry 500kg warheads were successfully launched within minutes of each other by the armed forces as part of an operation. … Aimed at two different targets 350 km away from the launch point, the missiles met all mission objectives," the Times of India reported, citing an anonymous military official.
The missiles were test-fired from mobile launchers around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, hitting the targets very accurately, the report said.
India and Pakistan have been testing a string of missiles for nearly seven years, when the two neighboring countries came to the brink of war for the fourth time. A bloody, militant attack on Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, stalled peace talks both states kicked off in 2003.
In their Tuesday launch, the P-II missiles were guided by advanced inertial guidance systems developed by local experts. Integrated into the Prithvi, the missiles hit targets within a few feet of the Circular Error Probability, Business Line reported.
It said two naval ships minded the course of the exercise, the missiles' flight path, trajectory and hit.
Prithvi was initially supposed to be a 150 km tactical battlefield missile with conventional warheads. It was later expanded to include strategic missile with nuclear payloads.
The 29-foot missile has three different takes designed to meet the requirements of the Army, Navy and Air Force. The Prithvi has already been inducted in the forces.
"It is a major milestone for the Integrated Test Range of Chindpur (on the east coast of India) as it showed the capability for simultaneous tracking of two missiles while they are flying," a senior military official told The Hindu newspaper.
The project was first initiated when former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam headed India's Defense Research and Development Organization.
Both the missiles were from the stock of the armed forces and the total launch activities were carried out by the Strategic Force Command.