Friday, March 11, 2011

India Tests 2 Short-Range Nuke-Capable Missiles

India tested two short-range nuclear-capable missiles along its eastern coast March 11, an official said, as part of the nation's efforts to build up its nuclear deterrent.

Dhanush, which means "archer's bow" in Sanskrit, was fired early March 11 from a naval ship in the Bay of Bengal off eastern Orissa state.

The Prithvi II, or Earth, blasted off soon afterwards from a testing range at Chandipur-on-Sea, 160 miles northeast of Bhubaneswar, Orissa's state capital.

"The test of both missiles was successful and met all mission objectives," test range director S.P. Dash said.

Both missiles, which can carry nuclear and conventional warheads, were developed domestically.

The 36-foot Dhanush, with a range of 220 kilometers, was a variant of the surface-to-surface Prithvi missile developed for the Indian navy.

The 28-foot Prithvi-II missile has a range of 95 to 220 miles and can carry a one-ton payload.

India's Defence Research Development Organisation is developing a series of missiles as part of the country's deterrent strategy against neighboring Pakistan and China, which also have nuclear weapons.

The tests were part of training exercises for the Indian armed forces, defense officials said.

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