BALASORE: Notwithstanding international pressures India has secretly conducted the maiden test of its nuclear capable undersea ballistic missile, code named K-4, from homegrown submarine INS Arihant at an undisclosed location in the Bay of Bengal.
A reliable source on Friday told ‘The New Indian Express’ that the test conducted on March 31 nearly 45 nautical miles away from Vishakhapatnam coast in Andhra Pradesh was highly successful. The indigenously developed weapon with a dummy payload was reportedly launched from the submarine in full operational configuration.
Intermediate Range SLBM
Operational Range – 3,500 km
Length – 12 meter
Width – 1.3 meter
Weight – 17 tonne
Warhead – 2,000 kg
Engine – Solid fueled
Accuracy – Near zero CEP
The trial was carried out with the support of the personnel of Strategic Forces Command (SFC) while the DRDO provided all logistics. The missile was fired from 20-meter deep and it pierced into the sky after breaking the water surface. INS Arihant had first successfully fired a prototype of K-15 (B-05) missile in November last year.
The K-4 missile was fired from onboard silos of the ship submersible ballistic, nuclear (SSBN) submarine demonstrating the capability of the newly built underwater warship to fire long range nuclear capable missiles and the killing efficiency of the most advanced state-of-the-art weapon system.
“Having an operational range of nearly 3,500 km, the missile was fired towards north for a shorter range. It covered more than 700 km before zeroing on the target with high accuracy reaching close to zero circular error probability (CEP),” informed the source.
DRDO officials however refused to speak on the mission. While the officials associated with K-4 mission and Arihant project were tight-lipped, Director General of DRDO Selvin Christopher did not respond calls from this paper.
On March 7, this missile was test fired from a submerged pontoon (replica of a submarine) positioned nearly 30 feet deep sea offshore Vizag coast. Although, the DRDO didn’t officially confirm about the secret mission, it was learnt that the test was a roaring success.
Even as the DRDO had reportedly conducted the first test of the missile system, which was developed under a secret project, in 2010, it officially admitted to have a missile named K-4 with a video footage of the missile launch in the Aero-India show in January last year.
Reports indicated the K-4 missile with the features of boost-glide flight profiles is designed to defeat any anti-ballistic missile systems. Equipped with the satellite updates to modify accumulated errors from its inertial navigation system, the weapon system is claimed to be quite dangerous and one of its kind in the world.
The 111-metre-long INS Arihant has four vertical launch tubes, which are capable of carrying 6 torpedoes of 533 mm and 12 B-05 (K-15) missiles or 4 K-4 missiles.
Powered by an 85 MW capacity nuclear reactor with enriched uranium fuel, this submarine can achieve surface speeds of 12 knots to 15 knots, and submerged speeds of up to 24 knots, carrying a crew of 95.
Apart from Arihant, the K-4 will also arm another Arihant class submarine INS Aridhaman which is currently under construction along with two others. These submarines will have eight launch tubes each.