India will produce at least 30 more short-range surface-to-surface missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, a newspaper report said Sept. 7.
The decision to build more Prithvi missiles, which have a range of 150 to 300 kilometers, was taken last week at the first meeting of the country’s Nuclear Command Authority chaired by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency reported.
The exact number of Prithvi missiles with the armed forces is not known as it is considered classified information.
The new Prithvi missiles would have a new solid propellant instead of the present liquid-fuel motor, PTI said, quoting unidentified defense sources.
The agency said separately that India may test-fire the under-construction Agni III, a ballistic missile with a range of 3,000 kilometers, in November.
Defence Minister George Fernandes has said two shorter variants, the Agni I and Agni II, will be deployed sometime this year. PTI said the government gave the nod to the two missiles’ induction.
The report said the cabinet also sanctioned the building of more missile launchers. At present, Army missile battalions are equipped with eight launchers each, it said.