Amid escalation of simmering tension along the LoC in the wake of unprovoked killing of jawans leading to heightened resentment across the nation, India is contemplating to go for the maiden trial of its long range nuke-capable undersea missile K-4, which had been kept secret so far.
If things go as per the programme, defence sources said the indigenously built submarine launched ballistic (SLBM) missile, which has a strike range of 3000-km to 3,500-km will be test fired from a submerged pontoon, which is almost identical to submarine, off the Vishakhapatnam coast next month.
Though the missile has been designed to be launched from a depth of 50 meter, but this time the scientists are planning to fire it from the undersea platform nearly 20 to 30 meters deep in the Bay of Bengal. Earlier the developmental tests of the missile's gas-booster have already completed successfully.
After the successful activation of the atomic reactor on-board the country’s first indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant in the wee hours on Saturday, the DRDO is in fact readying to conduct the first experimental trial of the much-awaited K-4 as soon as possible. This submarine will be equipped with the K-series missiles.
India has so far planned three missiles in the K-series. The 700-km range K-15, renamed as B-05 by the DRDO has been launched 10 times while the K-5 which will have a striking capability of over 5,000 km is under development. All the K-series missiles are faster, lighter and stealthier. The missiles are far more difficult to tackle as they skulk clandestinely undersea and manoeuvrable thus minimising the chance of being shot down by the enemy.
The DRDO is expecting a successful trial of the missile as it would strengthen the country’s position in the very exclusive club of six nations including Russia, USA, France, Britain and China which have the capability of firing nuclear tipped missiles from air, land and undersea.
With a length of 12 meters and diameter of 1.3 meters, the missile weighs around 17 tonne and is capable of carrying a warhead of around 2 tonne. Basically a ballistic missile as it uses solid propellant, the K-4 missile combines the aspects of both cruise and ballistic missile, which use multiple-stage rockets to exit the atmosphere and re-enter in a parabolic trajectory. It flies in hypersonic speed and is the world's best weapon in this class.
“At least four tests of B-05 and K-4 missiles have been planned. While the B-05 will be fired from the submarine, K-4 will be launched from the pontoon,” the sources added.
Apart from the K-series missiles, India has the submarine version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile in its arsenal to boost its second-strike capabilities. However, after the completion of successful trials from INS Arihant, the B-05 missile will be inducted in the armed forces. The DRDO is also developing the air version of the K-series missiles, which can be fitted with fighter aircraft like Sukhoi Su-30-MKI.
The Sunday Standard