Pralay and Shaurya: Conventional Strike Surface-to-Surface Missiles

Ashwin

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Except perhaps for some Prithvi short range ballistic missile (SRBM) units, India’s pool of ballistic missiles (BMs) are essentially meant for strategic strike purposes. With China’s People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) fielding a sizeable inventory of conventionally armed BMs in Tibet, the Indian Army (IA) wants to deploy symmetric counters to the same. At the moment, the only means for the IA to strike targets at distances of close to 500 km is the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile (CM), which though deadly accurate, can carry a payload of only about 200 kg or so, besides being somewhat expensive. As such, the IA in recent times has felt the need for a SRBM with a range of around 500 km that can also carry a sizeable payload. It is to address this requirement that the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is currently developing a new conventional strike surface to surface missile (SSM) called the Pralay.

The project for the design and development of Pralay was sanctioned in March 2015 for a sum of Rs 332.88 crores. The lead DRDO laboratory for this project is the Research Center Imarat, Hyderabad which has now emerged as a ‘full’ systems laboratory.



The Design
Pralay is essentially a derivative of the PDV exo-atmospheric interceptor with commonality of airframe and some of the avionics as well. Like the PDV, Pralay’s propulsion system too uses solid fuels that can function in a wide range of temperatures and allow the missile to have a long shelf-life. As such, Pralay is a canisterized system that will be able to strike targets out to 500 km with a payload of around 800 kg. The canister itself is probably designed by DRDO’s Advanced Systems Laboratory.

While Pralay’s on-board inertial navigation system (INS) is capable of receiving multi-constellation satellite updates, the missile is believed to have an accuracy of sub-10 metre CEP even without updates to remove accumulated errors. With its PDV heritage, Pralay will be rather maneuverable and capable of quasi-ballistic flight profiles.

Interestingly, if both the PDV and Pralay could be produced in tandem, one could potentially experience greater economies of scale thereby bringing down costs associated with both sets of systems. In a manner of speaking, a part of the total R&D costs of Pralay have in any case been amortized by those expended on developing the PDV interceptor.

The Role


A conventional strike BM, Pralay is supposed to level the playing field for the Indian military in any engagement with the Chinese. While the Indian Air Force (IAF) has the edge in the skies over the People’s Liberation Army Air Force(PLAAF) in various sectors along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) due to the proximity of its bases to the frontier and the fact that they are in the plains, it is also true that Indian airbases are vulnerable to missile attacks by the PLARF. Waves of such attacks could put Indian airbases out of commission for some hours at a stretch and it is important that the IA is not left completely devoid of the means to attack enemy centers of gravity during those periods. Moreover, massed Pralay attacks on Chinese airbases can also serve to curtail the PLAAF’s sortie rate in certain sectors thereby levelling the playing field for the IAF.

When?
Pralay is headed into developmental flight testing at the moment and is expected to be offered for user trials by next year.

Saurav Jha is the Editor-in-Chief of Delhi Defence Review. Follow him on twitter @SJha1618

PRALAY: India’s New Under Development Conventional Strike Surface-to-Surface Missile
 

Sumanta

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Will it be something like Iskander ?

Army2016demo-075.jpg
 

Guynextdoor

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400km with 500kg and 350km with 1000kg. The payload and range differences look suspect to me.

Probably meant 250 rather than 350.

Ashwin I guess this will be our long awaited solid propelled replacement for the liquid propelled prithvi,phasing those out will be the end of an era indeed.
 

safriz

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Pretty normal.

Not really normal.
Why? Because at least the shell of Pralay is almost entirely made of composite materials instead of metals which Prithvi had.
So i was expecting a cut in weight.
Prithvi was also 5 ton-ish and this one with composite material is the same...does not make much sense, but there is an explanation.
 

randomradio

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Not really normal.
Why? Because at least the shell of Pralay is almost entirely made of composite materials instead of metals which Prithvi had.
So i was expecting a cut in weight.
Prithvi was also 5 ton-ish and this one with composite material is the same...does not make much sense, but there is an explanation.

The second stage is solid fuel. So it is going to be heavy.
 

advaidhya

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The second stage is solid fuel. So it is going to be heavy.
Shaurya missile weighs 6.2 tons and has 700-750km range. Why is Pralay having 5ton weight and just 400-500km range? Moreover, Pralay is a SRBM and hence does not need strong body or warhead casing to withstand high speeds of reentry
 

Ashwin

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Pralay would be highly maneuvrable at the terminal stage to escape anti-missile systems. Also, expect it to follow the quasi-ballistic trajectory.
I'm yet to see any credible data on weight, no point arguing.
 

advaidhya

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Pralay would be highly maneuvrable at the terminal stage to escape anti-missile systems. Also, expect it to follow the quasi-ballistic trajectory.
I'm yet to see any credible data on weight, no point arguing.
This was displayed officially in defexpo by DRDO. So, I would say that this is a credible source for Pralay's weight:
**** not a good source to quote, actual PDC expected by Mar 2020

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