Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) K-4 Test Imminent

Friday, October 25, 2019

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is contemplating crucial tests of India’s longest range and most potent Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) K-4 between 23rd and 25th of October 2019. The missile is expected to be launched from India’s indigenous nuclear SSBN INS Arihant. India has activated a possible 3400+ Km path (See pic below) for the test of an “experimental flight trial” on the east coast indicates a possible LR missile test .

The nuclear capable homegrown strategic missile scheduled is expected to add more teeth to the navy once they are inducted. A successful trial of the underwater K-4 missile will pave the way for development of its long range sibling K-5, which will have a strike range of over 5,000 km. K-4 is an intermediate-range SLBM. It is a 10 m long missile weighing 20 tons, capable of carrying a 1 ton payload up to a range of 3,500 km.

“The missile systems are ready. We are expecting the launch schedule in next few days.” said a defence official from New Delhi.

It’s worthy to note that the scientists are keen on K-4 trial as the last attempt on December 17 had failed. The missile could not be launched from the pontoon positioned in the Bay of Bengal off the Vizag coast due to some technical snags. The missile, world’s best in this class, will have to undergo a couple of more developmental trials before being inducted in the armed forces.

The 12 metre tall missile weighs around 17 tons and can carry a warhead weighing up to 2,000 kg. The missile is powered by solid rocket propellant.

The manoeuvrable missile having an innovative system of interlacing in three dimensions can also cruise at a hypersonic speed and this exceptional feature makes it difficult to be tracked easily and destroyed by any anti-ballistic missile defence systems.

One of the lesser known missiles being developed under DRDO’s ‘K Series’ project is the K-5 missile. K-5 would be a long range Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM). It reportedly can deliver nuclear warhead of up to one tonne 5,000 km away.

Other missiles under ‘K Series’ – 750-km range K-15 (B-05) and 3,500 km range K-4 – have already been test fired successfully several times.

Both the missiles have strengthen the country’s position in the exclusive club of six nations including Russia, US, France, UK and China which have the capability of firing nuclear tipped missiles from air, land and undersea.