Amidst rising concern of China over successful test firing of ICBM Agni-V, India is contemplating a fresh test of its longest range submarine-launched ballistic missile, code named K-4, which is capable of delivering nuclear warhead over 3,500 km away.
Sources said, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is planning to conduct the test from an undersea platform in the Bay of Bengal by month-end.
“The platform is being readied for the test. If everything goes as per the programme, the weapon system, which has caught the attention of enemy nations, will be tested as per schedule,” the source told ‘The Express’ on Sunday.
Though it is yet to be known whether the test would be conducted from a submerged pontoon (replica of a submarine) or the indigenously developed submarine INS Arihant, it would be from a platform nearly 30 feet deep in the sea.
Once the platform is ready, movement of tracking systems and Naval ships to the area of mission will be made, the source informed. This would be third test of the missile even as none of the tests has officially been revealed.
The DRDO, which has designed and developed the missile, had kept the project secret till its first test in March 2014. 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 intermediate range submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) is about 12 metres tall with a diameter of 1.3. It weighs around 17 tonnes and can carry a warhead weighing up to 2,000 kg. The missile is powered by solid rocket propellant.
“This time an advanced variant of the missile will be tested to validate new technologies incorporated in the system. The test would be for a higher range also,” the source added.
A successful trial of the missile would strengthen the country’s position in the exclusive club of six nations including Russia, USA, France, UK and China which have the capability of firing nuclear tipped missiles from air, land and undersea.
A defence scientist said, this manoeuvrable missile having an innovative system of interlacing in three dimensions can also cruise at a hypersonic speed. “This exceptional feature of the weapon system makes it difficult to be tracked easily and destroyed by any anti-ballistic missile defence system. The missile has a high accuracy of near-zero circular error probable (CEP),” he said.