BALASORE: India is all set to test fire its longest range secret undersea missile, code named K-4, which is capable of delivering nuclear warhead at 3,500 km away. The test is planned to be conducted from a submerged platform in the Bay of Bengal between March 7 and 8. Defence sources on Thursday said preparation was on in full swing for the scheduled test.
While the tracking systems have already been shifted from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) and two Naval ships taken to the area of mission, another one is likely to be moved to the point of impact to record the terminal events and splashdown.
This test would be conducted from a submerged pontoon, replica of a submarine, positioned nearly 30 feet deep in the sea. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which has developed the missile, had kept the project secret till its first test in March, 2014.
While the missile’s first test was for a range of 3,000 km, this time the scientists are reportedly trying for its full operational range of 3,500 km. The missile, world’s best in this class, will have to undergo two more developmental trials before being fired from the indigenously developed submarine INS Arihant next year.
A defence scientist said this manoeuvrable missile having an innovative system of interlacing in three dimensions can also cruise at hypersonic speed. This exceptional feature of the weapon system makes it difficult to be tracked easily and destroyed by any anti-ballistic missile defence systems. The missile has a high accuracy of near-zero circular error probable.
The intermediate range submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) is about 12 metres tall with a diameter of 1.3 metres. It weighs around 17 tonnes and can carry a warhead weighing upto 2,000 kg. The missile is powered by solid rocket propellant.
India has so far planned three missiles in the K-series. While the 700-km range K-15, renamed as B-05 (launched 10 times) and 3,500-km range K-4 have been developed, the K-5 will have a striking capability of over 5,000 km. All the K-series missiles are faster, lighter and stealthier.