Dhanush Anti Shipping Ballistic Missile
Dhanush ballistic missile is the Navy's one and only operational Ballistic missile. China and India is the only nation in the world who uses the Ballistic missile for Anti shipping missions. China uses the long range DF 21 missile to destroy American carriers using Nuclear warhead. The DF 21 D has the Range of some 1600 kilometers, While the Indian Dhanush is some 350 kilometer quasi ballistic missile, Chinese DF too a quasi ballistic missile. Quasi Ballistic means a missile which fly in low trajectory or large ballistic with in flight maneuvers make unexpected changes in his flight.
Dhanush is a two stage missile, with solid and liquid fueled engines. The first stage always ignited with Solid fuel, The Dhanush can carry 500 kg warhead at the range of some 350 to 600 kilometers. The Dhanush missile is a modified Pritvi ballistic missile a variant also used in ballistic interceptor role too. Dhanush certified to be launched from small offshore patrol vessels to heavy Rajput class destroyers too. Currently most tests are conducted from the OPV's to validate the performance of the Dhanush platform.
Dhanush actually a test platform, used to evaluate India's AShBM and BMD capabilities from sea based platforms. AShBM is something like a failed theory, While many suggesting It's very hard to hit a moving platform using the ballistic missile. The major reason is Ballistic missiles will not hit the target at bulls eye or pin point. Most ballistic missile hit target close to some 10 meter circular error probability. However some believes the term quasi ballistic missile can outperform the theories. Indian DRDO scientists claims with the fins and stabilizers the Dhanush can destroy the enemy ship with good accuracy.
DRDO also claims that The fins can be controlled via on board visual camera's. Means the sea always in blue, and sea level always at constant point. While the ship is something different in color and shape too. One more is the Ship always above the sea level. This allows the Dhanush can engage the target in high precision. Navy has plans to deploy some Dhanush missiles in their front line warships.
Dhanush also used to destroy Port's and Naval bases for quick support. Earlier Naval operation in 1971 shows the Navy's capability of attacking enemy port with barrage of missiles. Navy sticks to keep the same for future warfare too. As per officials Navy also deployed some Sukanya class OPV's with Dhanush missiles. Only disadvantages is if the Ship carries a Missile then it have no room to carry a helicopter vice verse.
Launching Dhanush and Brahmos missile over enemy targets makes them less time to react and gives less or zero probability of intercept. The tracking radar and the missiles can be easily confused by both cruise and ballistic missile trajectory. most of the ships don't have good interceptor missile to intercept ballistic missiles, except AEGIS equipped warships.
India also plans to field the Interceptor missiles in the Ships, just like how American added Standard Missiles into their frontline destroyers for ballistic missile interception. India also has plans to add PAD and AAD missiles into the ships for ballistic missile interception. However the long term plan will be executed once the land based system matured.