Indian Missile Program Updates

Pralay: India’s first tactical quasi-ballistic missile


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Pralay Missile

Mains level: Tactical weapons and their battle significance


The Defence Ministry has decided to deploy indigenously developed surface-to-surface ‘Pralay’ ballistic missiles near India’s borders with China and Pakistan.

What are Tactical Missiles?

  • Generally, short-range missiles are termed tactical while long-range missiles are termed strategic.
  • A missile which is used to destroy tactical targets of enemy like bunkers, mortar position, artillery position etc. is tactical missile.
  • Battlefield missiles are tactical while long-range missiles targeting bigger targets like cities are termed strategic.
  • Features of these missiles include-
  1. Versatile range: Tactical missiles fills the gap between long range rockets and short range ballistic missiles , and have range mainly about 100 to 200 kms .
  2. Very high precision and accuracy: These missiles are highly accurate, and can destroy small steady and moving targets with high accuracy.

About ‘Pralay’ Missile

  • Pralay is a Hindi word which means “apocalypse” or “to cause great destruction” or “damage”.
  • The Pralay missile project was sanctioned in 2015 and is a derivative of the Prahaar missile programme, which was first tested in 2011.
  • Developed by the DRDO, the ‘Pralay’ ballistic missile is a canisterised tactical, surface-to-surface, and short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) for battlefield use.
  • It can hit targets from a distance of 150 to 500 km and is extremely difficult to intercept by enemy interceptor missiles.
  • Pralay is powered by a solid fuel rocket motor and is a high explosive preformed fragmentation warhead that weighs somewhere between 350 kg to 700 kg.
  • It also accounts for its Penetration-Cum-Blast (PCB) and Runaway Denial Penetration Submunitions (RDPS).

Unique features of Pralay

  • Precise targeting: The missile is designed to destroy enemy radar, communication installations, command centres and airfields.
  • Quasi Ballistic Trajectory: It means the object takes a low curved path after being shot.
  • Stealth features: Pralay has the ability to evade any anti-ballistic missile (ABM) interceptors by performing mid-air manoeuvres by using a manoeuvrable re-entry vehicle.
  • Destruction capability: When a high-explosive warhead, like the one Pralay missile is equipped with, explodes, its pieces are thrown at a high speed which can inflict heavy damage.

What makes Pralay lethal?

  • The Indian missile can be compared to China’s Dong Feng 12 and the Russian Iskander missile that has been used in the ongoing war with Ukraine.
  • The US Army is in the process of increasing the range of a similar short-range ballistic missile called the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM).
  • What makes Pralay deadly is that it is a quasi-ballistic weapon, which means that while it has a low trajectory and is largely ballistic, it can manoeuvre in flight.
  • Unlike intercontinental ballistic missiles that exit the Earth’s atmosphere, short-range ballistic missiles stay within it.

What lies ahead?

  • Pralay, along with the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, will form the crux of India’s planned Rocket Force — a concept that was envisaged by former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), the late General Bipin Rawat.
  • Only conventional missiles would come under the planned Rocket Force as and when it’s ready, while nuclear weapons would continue to be under the ambit of the Strategic Forces Command.


Click and get your FREE Copy of CURRENT AFFAIRS Micro Notes

(Click) FREE 1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch