According to an India Today report India has successfully tested its most sophisticated missile a submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM), codenamed K-4 MISSILE, capable of striking targets over the range of 3,500 kilometres.
A submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) is a ballistic missile capable of being launched from submarines. Modern variants usually deliver multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) each of which carries a nuclear warhead and allows a single launched missile to strike several targets.
India’s K-4 MISSILE is an intermediate-range, nuclear-capable, submarine-launched ballistic missile. K-4 MISSILE together with the K-15 Sagarika SLBM, will give the Arihant-class of nuclear submarines, and her successors, their nuclear strike capabilities, completing India’s undersea nuclear deterrent capability and giving India a nuclear triad (A nuclear triad is the ability to launch Nuclear weapons from air, sea & land). The K-15 has a considerably shorter range than the K-4 MISSILE. 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 chances of being detected by enemy submarines.
The K-4 MISSILE with a considerably longer range helps overcome this shortcoming.
The missile measures 12 metre in length and 1.3 metre in width. It weighs 17 tonnes and can carry a nuclear payload of 2,000 kilograms. Its engine is solid fuelled. DRDO scientists claim that the missile is highly accurate with a near zero circular error probability (measure of a weapon system’s precision). According to publicly available information, the K-4 MISSILE uses a Ringer Laser Gyro Inertial navigation system.
The K-4 MISSILE will undergo two more development tests before it will be fired from the Indian Navy’s first indigenously developed ballistic missile nuclear submarine (SSBN), the INS Arihant. The submarine is equipped with four vertical launch tubes, which can be armed with either four K-4 MISSILE or 12—three per launch tube—K-15 missiles, another member of the K-series of missiles with a maximum range of 750 kilometers (466 miles). There have also been some reports that DRDO is also working on a new top-secret variant of the K missile family with a 5,000 kilometer (3,106 miles) range. India’s nuclear warfare policy is centred on a No First-Use (NFU) doctrine. The K family of missiles is meant to boost India’s second strike capability and will be the cornerstone of the sea leg of the country’s nuclear triad. India still maintains a policy of keeping its nuclear warheads de-mated from the missiles.
Image Courtesy: New Indian Express