BHUBANESHWAR: Making its mark as a military superpower in South East Asia region, India has finally operationalised its first home-grown nuclear capable Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM), after nearly two decades of its development.
Kept under wraps for several years and inducted in the Navy a couple of months ago, the SLBM, code-named B-05 was secretly test fired back-to-back from indigenously built nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant off Visakhapatnam coast on August 11 and 12.
An official associated with the mission on Sunday told ‘The Express’ that three rounds of the world-class missile were tested during the first phase user trial and it was a roaring success. While two tests were conducted on August 11, one was put under trial the next day in full operational configuration.
“All three missiles were fired from the submarine positioned nearly 20-meter deep inside the sea, about 10-km off the Vizag coast. It perfectly followed the pre-designated trajectory before zeroing on the target with high accuracy reaching close to zero circular error probability,-” the official confirmed over phone from New Delhi.
The successful mission has made India a member of the very exclusive club of six nations which have the triad of firing nuclear-tipped missiles from land, air and undersea. Other countries having the capability include Russia, USA, France, UK and China. Though India has a declared no-first-use policy, it is developing a nuclear doctrine based on credible minimum deterrence.
Developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the 10-meter long B-05 has a strike range of about 750 km and weighs ten tonne. The two-stage missile uses solid propellant and can carry a payload of about 1000 kg. The tests also confirmed the successful induction of INS Arihant submarine.
The 111-metre-long, 15-meter tall and 11-metre broad submarine is capable of carrying six torpedoes of 533 mm and 12 B-05 missiles or four K-4 missiles. Having a 100-member crew, the advanced technology vessel is powered by an 83 MW pressurised light-water reactor with enriched uranium fuel. There is also provision to launch non-nuclear tipped Brahmos supersonic cruise missile as well as the 1,000-km.
Nirbhay which can be configured for both nuclear and non-nuclear warheads.The tests, sources indicated, would pave the way for an early induction of 3,500-km range K-4 missile, which is under developmental trials. Apart from the cruise variants of B-05 and K-4 missiles, DRDO is also developing 5,000-km range K-5 and 6,000-km range K-6 which would add more teeth to the arsenal.