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The Dhanush missile is an Indian short-range, ship-launched ballistic missile (ShLBM). It is the third variant of the Prithvi missile family, which includes the Prithvi I, Prithvi II, and the Prithivi Air Defense interceptor. It is probably liquid fueled, capable of carry nuclear or conventional payloads. 1

Dhanush at a Glance

Originated from
Possessed by
Ship-Launched Ballistic Missile (ShLBM)
8.53 m
1.0 m
Launch weight
5,600 kg
Single warhead, 500-1000 kg
Nuclear, HE, submunitions, FAE, or chemical
Single-stage liquid propellant
250-400 km
In service

Dhanush Development

In 2000 the first Dhanush missile was tested from a patrol vessel. This missile is believed to be similar to the SS-150, but equipped for launching off the deck of two different configurations of the Sukanya-class patrol vessel: the Subhadra and the Suvarna.2

According to most reports, the initial launch was a failure.3 Since that time, the missile program has launched about seven different test missiles.4

Most of these launches were successful including tests in December 2009 and March 2010. The Press Information Bureau of the Indian Government described development on the Dhanush missile in May 2010 as complete.5


The exact dimensions and performance of the Dhanush missile program are not well known. Jane’s Defense & Security Intelligence & Analysis estimates that the length is 8.56 m, with a body diameter of 1.0 to 1.1 m, and a launch weight of 4,000 to 5,600 kg. The payload is presumed to be 500 to 1000 kg, with various warhead options including HE, submunitions, FAE, or chemical. It is powered by a single-stage liquid propellant and guided by an inertial system or GPS. The range is estimated in between 150 and 400 km, with an accuracy of 50 m CEP. Some sources suggest the accuracy is 25 m CEP.6


    1. Lennox, Duncan. “Prithvi (SS-150/-250/-350) (P-1/P-2/P-3) and Dhanush.” Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Offensive Weapons). February 12, 2012. (accessed September 12, 2012).
    2. Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, “Indian nuclear forces, 2015,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Nuclear notebook, Vol. 71 issue 5 (2015) 81.
    3. “Crash Ends Maiden Flight of India’s Dhanush Missile,” Jane’s Missiles and Rockets, 1 June 2000.
    4. “’Dhanush missile successfully test-fired,” The Times of India, 14 December 2009, available at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Dhanush-missile-successfully-test-fired/articleshow/5332894.cms.
    5. “Major DRDO Projects / Programmes which are yet to be completed,” a table published by the Press Information Bureau of the Government of India, available at http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=61315, accessed on 27 July 2010.
    6. Lennox, Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Offensive Weapons); Fuller, Malcolm. “Dhanush.” Jane’s Naval Weapon Systems. April 24, 2012. (accessed September 12, 2012).
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Missile Defense Project, "Dhanush," Missile Threat, Center for Strategic and International Studies, August 11, 2016, last modified April 23, 2024, https://missilethreat.csis.org/missile/dhanush/.