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.
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.
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.
India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has once again test-fired the K-4 nuclear-capable submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM)–this time from aboard the Indian Navy’s indigenously built nuclear submarine, the INS Arihant, the first submarine in its class. In March 2016, DRDO had successfully tested the K-4 from a submerged platform in the Bay of Bengal.
According to the New Indian Express, the Arihant-based K-4 test was “conducted on March 31 nearly 45 nautical miles away from Vishakhapatnam coast in Andhra Pradesh.” The K-4 missile was fired from theArihant‘s onboard SLBM silos.
India’s K-4 is an intermediate-range, nuclear-capable, submarine-launched ballistic missile. Though official details remain scarce given the project’s sensitivity, most estimates place the K-4′s range at roughly 3,500 kilometers. Recent testing of the K-4 has sought to test the full operational range of the missile. The DRDO scientists’ purported aim this week is to test the full operational range of the missile. During a previous test in March 2014, where the weapon was ejected from the submerged pontoon by a powerful gas generator, the K-4 was only tested to a range of 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles). In addition to its range, recent testing as sought to test the SLBM’s accuracy. Claims by DRDO scientists and publicly available information on the system suggest that the K-4 is a highly accurate system. As Franz has discussed, DRDO scientists have boasted that the K-4 has “near zero circular error probability” and uses “a Ringer Laser Gyro Inertial navigation system.”
The K-4, along with the K-15 Sagarika SLBM, will give the Arihant-class of nuclear submarines their nuclear strike capabilities, allowing India to field an undersea nuclear deterrent capability. The K-15 has a considerably shorter range than the K-4. At a maximum strike range of approximately 750 kilometers, Arihant-class submarines would have to move close to enemy shores to successfully deploy the K-15 SLBMs, increasing the odds of detection. The intermediate-range K-4 helps rectify this shortcoming. The K-4 is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear payloads in excess of 2,000 kilograms.
The Indian Navy anticipates commissioning the first Arihant-class submarine in 2016. The Indian Navy anticipates eventually fielding a force of three to six Arihant-class submarines. INS Aridhaman, in construction, will be the second submarine of the Arihant-class. Each submarine will be able to carry 12 K-5 Sagarika missiles and 4 K-4 SLBMs. With the Arihant‘s commissioning, the Indian Navy will join the navies of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China in operating nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines.