NEW DELHI - The Indian government has sanctioned serial production of an advanced homegrown nuclear-capable missile after a successful Sept. 25 test-firing of the Shourya, which can travel at a speed up to Mach 7.5.
The Shourya will be manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Ltd.
The missile, which was tested at India's range in the northeastern state of Orissa, can carry both nuclear and conventional warheads. It can be used by both the Indian Navy and Army.
The surface-to-surface missile was developed by the government's Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
The Shourya, with a range of up to 700 kilometers, can climb steeply up to 50 kilometers and then cruise quickly toward its target like a cruise missile, a DRDO scientist said.
"The missile cannot be tracked by any satellite and, as such, can strike the enemy target with surprise," the scientist said.
During the test, the Shourya shot up to a height of 40 kilometers at Mach 7.5, covering a range of 700 meters in 500 seconds, the DRDO scientist said.
The mobile missile can be launched from silos and canisters mounted on a truck. The missile is stored in Fiberglas composite canisters, to be easy to handle and easy to deploy on different surfaces.
Shourya is the land-variant of India's K-15 missile, which is launched underwater and is being fitted into the Navy's homemade nuclear submarine Arihant. The missile is 10 meters long, 74 centimeters in diameter and weighs 6.2 tons. Its two stages use solid propellants.
"Shourya can be used as a very good second-line-of-attack missile," said Mahindra Singh, a retired Indian Army major-general.