The armed forces appear to have lost interest in the Prithvi ballistic missile — the first success story in the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme — and are in favour of inducting the short-range version of the Agni missile.
Apart from reservations over Prithvi's accuracy, the Army is unhappy with the efficacy of its warheads and the cumbersome process of filling them prior to launch. As a result, it wants to go in for the "Agni A-1" missile that was tested successfully over a year ago.
Agni A-1 missiles are filled with a more stable solid fuel and do not require an easily detectable logistical train of vehicles and a complement of defence scientists to oversee the fuelling as in the case of the liquid fuel-based Prithvi I and II. Also, its range gives defence planners more options, sources said.
The Air Force too is not keen on acquiring the missiles though the Prithvi-II was developed for its exclusive use. The IAF recently decided to sendsome of its frontline Sukhoi fighters back to Russia to ascertain whether their wings could be strengthened to carry the Indo-Russian Brahmos cruise missile.
Only the Navy sees a future for the Prithvi in its battle plans. It is involved in the development of a submarine launched version called Sagarika, which was successfully tested earlier this year. But the project is still in the early stages.