Tuesday, December 28, 2010

DRDO readies underwater missile test-fire

AFTER the success of Prithvi-II, the DRDO is planning to test-fire a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from an underwater platform off the Andhra Pradesh coast in January.
While no one would elaborate whether it would be K-4 or K-15 missile, sources at the Chandipur base said preparations were on for the test. The missile has been planned to be launched from a Pontoon (replica of a submarine) which is being readied.

Both the missiles are submarine launched and ready for a trial. While K-15 has a strike range of about 700 km, K-4 will hit the target 3,500 km away. Land version of the missile has been renamed as Shaurya which has already been tested once at Chandipur in 2008.

The Pontoon is, however, used to test the K missiles because India does not have an operational submarine capable to undertake firing of such missiles.

Though India has developed the advanced technology vehicle (ATV) INS Arihant, it is yet to begin sea trials or even fire up nuclear reactor.

Missile tests will follow after the submarine completes the sea trials. So far, K-15 missile has been tested successfully six times. The K-4, though, has been tested only once in January this year and it was a secret mission.

It will go under at least six more tests before being deployed. “The name of the missile has been kept ‘K’ in the honour of former President A P J Abdul Kalam, father of Indian missiles,” said a source.

Developed by DRDO, K-15 is about 10 metres in length and about one metre in diameter with a launch weight of about 10 tonnes.This missile uses solid propellant.

It can carry a conventional payload of about 500 kg and also be fitted with tactical nuclear warhead.

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