BHUBANESHWAR: Making its mark as a military superpower in the Southeast Asia region, India has finally operationalised its first home-grown nuclear capable Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM), after nearly two decades of development of the weapon system.
This makes India the sixth nation in the world to have a credible triad of nuclear-enabled missiles that can be fired from land, air and undersea. Kept under wraps for years and inducted in the Navy a few months ago, the SLBM, code-named 'B-05', was secretly test-fired back-to-back from indigenously built nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant off the Visakhapatnam coast on August 11 and 12.
An official associated with the mission told The New Indian Express that three rounds of the world-class missile were tested during the first-phase user trial and it was a roaring success. Two tests were conducted on August 11 and one was done next day in full operational configuration.
"All three missiles were fired from the submarine, positioned nearly 20-meter deep in the sea, about 10-km off the Vizag coast. It perfectly followed the pre-designated trajectory before zeroing in on the target with high accuracy, reaching close to zero circular error probability," the official confirmed over the
phone from New Delhi.
The successful mission has made India a member of the very exclusive club of six nations which have the triad of firing nuclear-tipped missiles from land, air and undersea.
Other countries having the capability include Russia, USA, France, UK and China. Though India has a declared no-first-use policy, it is developing a nuclear doctrine based on credible minimum deterrence.
Developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the 10-meter long B-05 has a strike range of about 750 km and weighs ten tonne. The two-stage missile uses solid propellant and can
carry a payload of about 1000 kg.
The tests also confirmed the successful induction of INS Arihant submarine. The 111-metre-long, 15-meter tall and 11-metre broad submarine is capable of carrying six torpedoes of 533 mm and 12 B-05
missiles or four K-4 missiles.
Having a 100-member crew, the advanced technology vessel is powered by an 83 MW pressurised light-water reactor with enriched uranium fuel. There is also provision to launch non-nuclear tipped BrahMos
supersonic cruise missile as well as the 1,000-km sub-sonic cruise missile Nirbhay, which can be configured for both nuclear and non-nuclear warheads.
The tests, sources indicated, will pave the way for an early induction of 3,500-km range K-4 missile, which is under developmental trials. Apart from the cruise variants of B-05 and K-4 missiles, DRDO
is also developing 5,000-km range K-5 and 6,000-km range K-6 which would add more teeth to the arsenal.
- Development of B-05 (K-15) missile started in the late 1990s
- Development of the underwater missile launcher completed in 2001 and handed over to the Indian Navy for trials
- After several tests, first full range trial of the missile conducted on March 11, 2012
- India officially confirms about the missile's successful developmental trial after 12th test on January 27, 2013 from a submerged pontoon
- Missile integrated with home-grown nuclear-powered Arihant class submarine and an unarmed missile successfully test fired on November 25, 2015
Operational range - 750 km
Length - 10 meter
Width - 1 meter
Weight - 10 tonne
Warhead - 1,000 kg
Engine - Two-stage solid-fuelled
Best in this class in the world
Not easy to be tracked and destroyed by enemies