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India Successfully Tests New Ballistic Missile

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Asia Defense

India Successfully Tests New Ballistic Missile

India successfully test-fired the K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile earlier this month.

India Successfully Tests New Ballistic Missile
Credit: YouTube Still Shot

The test-launch of an indigenously-developed, nuclear capable K-4 ballistic missile from a submerged platform in the Bay of Bengal, was a “roaring success,” according to an unnamed source within India’s Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO), The New Indian Express reveals.

The missile was launched from a submerged replica of a submarine, from water 9 meters (around 30 feet) deep.

“The K-4 missile was fired at a depressed trajectory. Starting from successfully clearing the launch tube and breaking the water surface to stage separation and maintaining the ballistic trajectory, the missile achieved all parameters before zeroing in on the pre-designated target with high accuracy. The trial was stupendous and a copy book success,” the source explains.

This presumably confirms that the missile has been tested at its full-operational range. The K-4 is an intermediate-range nuclear-capable submarine-launched ballistic missile with an alleged range of up to 3,500 kilometers (2,174 miles). During a previous test in March 2014, the K-4 was only tested to a range of 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles).

As I explained previously (See: “India to Test-Fire Secret Undersea Weapon”):

Technical details on the top-secret K-4 remain scarce. It purportedly is 12 meters (39 feet) long, weighs around 17 tons, can carry a nuclear capable warhead of up to 2 tons, and is powered by solid rocket propellants.

DRDO scientists claim that the missile is highly accurate with a near zero circular error probability. According to publicly available information, the K-4 uses a Ringer Laser Gyro Inertial navigation system.

The missile, capable of cruising at hypersonic speed, also features an “innovative” system of weaving in three dimensions during flight as it approaches its target. 

The K-4 is capable of carrying a nuclear or conventional payload of more than 2,000 kilogram (4,400 pounds). According to DRDO officials the missile will have to undergo at least two more developmental trials before it will be test-fired from the ballistic missile nuclear submarine (SSBN) INS Arihant. INS Arihant is scheduled to be commissioned in March, although a delay seems likely. I reported previously:

 The vessel is based on Russian Project 971 Akula I-class nuclear-powered attack submarine.  It is the lead vessel of the Indian Navy’s future fleet of four Arihant-class SSBNs.

The submarine is equipped with four vertical launch tubes, which can be armed with either four K-4 missiles 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).

DRDO is purportedly also working on another variant of the K-missile with a 5,000 kilometer (3,106 miles) range.