M A I N   N E W S

India moves closer to nuclear triad
Successfully test-fires ballistic missile from underwater platform
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, January 27
India on Sunday moved a step closer to integrate a nuclear missile with INS Arihant - its nuclear-powered indigenous submarine, which is all set for final sea trials. Once done, it will complete the crucial third leg of India’s nuclear triad - the ability to fire nuclear weapons from land, air and sea.
The medium range nuclear tipped missile K-15 was fired from an under-sea pontoon in the Bay of Bengal on Sunday
The medium range nuclear tipped missile K-15 was fired from an under-sea pontoon in the Bay of Bengal on Sunday

A medium-range ballistic missile, K-15 (code-named B05 by the Defence Research and Development Organisation) was successfully test-fired from an underwater platform in the Bay of Bengal. The missile is now ready for induction. With this launch, the first part of the submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLMB) programme gets completed. The longer range, 3,000-km version, missile (code-named K-4) is still under development.

It was the 12th trial of the 10-metre long K-15, whose length is in tandem with the missile tubes on board the INS Arihant. As many as 12 nuclear-tipped missiles, each weighing six tones, will be integrated with Arihant, which is powered by an 80MW (thermal) reactor that uses enriched uranium as fuel and light water as coolant and moderator.

During the test, the K-15 rose to an altitude of 20 km before descending to strike the target 700 km away. An underwater canister set on a pontoon was used to mimic a submarine launch from a depth of 50 m in the Bay of Bengal.

“The missile was tested for its full range and met all the mission objectives. All  parameters of the vehicle were monitored by radars right through the trajectory and terminal events have taken place exactly as expected,” said a DRDO release.

DRDO chief V K Saraswat said “ the development phase of the K-15 missile was over and it was now ready for deployment on various platforms, including the indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant”.

India will become the sixth country to have such technology after the United States, Russia, the UK, France and China. New Delhi has already announced that the INS Arihant will go on deterrent patrol aimed at providing the ability of a retaliatory “second strike” in case of a nuclear attack.

The submarine will carry its full load of nuclear-tipped missiles that can be launched from under the sea. It deters a nation from launching a first N-strike as the submarines can then launch the retaliatory strike within minutes.

During the Cold War, “deterrent patrol” was a norm adopted by the US and the erstwhile USSR when their submarines trawled under sea for days. 

DRDO’s latest: K-15

* K-15 is part of the family of underwater missiles being developed by DRDO for the Indian strategic forces' underwater platforms

* The missile will help India to achieve the capability of launching nuclear warheads from underwater facilities

* It’s a major stride towards completing the nuclear triad, ability to fire N-tipped missiles from land, air and sea 





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