BHUBANESWAR: Scripting history, India on Sunday successfully test-fired intermediate-range nuclear-capable Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) K-4 from an underwater platform located at an undisclosed location in Bay of Bengal. Defence sources said the test conducted from a pontoon (replica of a submarine) nearly 30 nautical miles from Vishakhapatnam coast in Andhra Pradesh at about 1.21 pm and was highly successful.
Developed by DRDO, the weapon with a dummy payload was launched in full operational configuration. The trial was carried in association with Strategic Forces Command (SFC) while the DRDO provided all logistic supports.
“It was an excellent mission accomplished. The missile zeroed on the target with high accuracy reaching close to zero circular error probability. Such outstanding performance of the undersea missile was never witnessed before. The missile travelled nearly 21 minutes and covered its full range of over 3,500 km,” the sources informed The Express.
The test was conducted after four failed attempts in the last two years. The last trial in December 2017 had ended in failure while the first and second trials in 2014 and 2016 respectively were successful.
The success of K-4 missile, in terms of technology, is a significant achievement for India, which is emerging as a superpower in the South East Asia region with the development and deployment of some powerful yet potent missiles with limited budget and period.
Maintaining that the test of underwater weapons has international ramifications, DRDO officials chose to remain tightlipped. Sources further informed that another test of the missile has been scheduled on January 24 following which the weapon is expected to go for series of production.
Considered as world’s best missile in its class, K-4 is about 12 metre in length with a diametre of 1.3 metre. It weighs around 17 tonne and can carry warhead weighing up to two tonne. The missile is powered by solid rocket propellant.
While India has completed its nuclear triad with the commissioning of INS Arihant submarine, it will be equipped with K series missiles. The submarine can carry 12 K-15 missiles with a strike range of 750 km and four K-4 missiles.