Balasore, Orissa: India's Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRDO) sprung a pleasant surprise on the country today with a successful test firing of 'Shaurya,' a previously unknown 600 km medium-range, surface-to-surface ballistic missile at its missile testing range at Balasore, Orissa. The missile has been developed for use by the Army and given its range is capable of deep strikes within Pakistan and China.
It surpasses the earlier indigenously developed SSMs, the Prithvi-class, in range, capability and warhead capacity.
Shaurya was launched at 11.25 am from a canister placed in a pit 30-40 feet deep at the Complex-3 facility of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, DRDO sources said. The sleek missile, with a flight duration of 485 seconds, roared into the sky leaving behind a thick yellow and white smoke on a clear sunny day, they added.
The sophisticated tactical missile is capable of carrying conventional warheads with a payload of about one tonne.
"With longer shelf-life, as it is stored in a canister just like the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, the Shaurya is easily transportable and user-friendly. This is a technology development project," DRDO sources said in New Delhi.
There was immediate speculation that the missile may be a land version of the under development K-15 submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) project, variously referred to as K-15 or Sgaraika . DRDO sources, however, said the Shaurya had nothing to do with the K-15 'Sagarika.'
"The missile was test fired from a 30-40 feet deep pit with in-built canister specially designed for the purpose. There was no water in the pit," the sources said.
This is not to rule out the fact that someday the pit may indeed be full of water and the Shaurya may get transformed as the Sagarika.
Picture of the test firing show a missile with an uncanny resemblance to the BrahMos, though a much stouter version. Since no details are released technical features can only be a matter of speculation.
If it shares any of the technical features with the BrahMos, what the Shaurya would appear to do is to make the Prithvi class virtually redundant. All this is of course for the future as the missile undergoes further development.