Facts

India/U.S. Designation Sagarika/K-15/B05
Missile Variants Prtihvi/Shaurya
Mobility and Role Sub-launched/Short-Range Ballistic Missile
Designer/Producer India
Range 700km
Warhead Type and Weight Nuclear or Conventional/500kg
MIRV and Yield No MIRV Capabilities/40m CEP
Guidance System/Accuracy Inertial/ N/A
Stages/Propellant Multistage/Solid
IOC/Retirement 2014/Still in service
Status/Number of Units Operational/ N/A

Development

The Sagarika (K-15, B05) missile is a 700 km ranged Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM). [1] It is reportedly based on the Prithvi design. [2] The program allegedly started in 1992 and was originally part of a program that would adapt a ramjet engine to Indian missiles. [3] The missile was developed by the Defense Research and Development Organization complex in Hyderabad. [4]  In 2007, India tested the Sagarika from a submersible pontoon launcher. [5] It was tested again in February of 2008 from another pontoon, [6] simulating the environment of a submarine. Its final trial was on January 27, 2013 as it successful hit a predetermined target from an underwater battery. [7]  It typically carries warhead of around 500kg, and uses solid fuel. It is likely to be deployed with the Indian Navy’s new ballistic missile submarine INS Arihant. [8]

Strategic Implications

A nuclear armed Sagarika missile deployed on a submarine would complete India’s nuclear triad. [9] The only submarine capable of possibly deploying with Sagrika missiles is the  Arihant. [10] Though India has leased nuclear powered attack submarines in the past, the Arihant would be India’s first indigenously built submarine. [11]The Arihant reportedly began sea trials in August of 2013, when it encountered some technical difficulties. [13]Reportedly, the Arihant could carry up to 12 Sagarika missiles as well as torpedoes and submarine launched cruise missiles. [14] This would allow India’s submarine to place a nuclear strike near a foreign powers coastline to deter or retaliate against that power. [15] However, this would require a certain amount of risk from the submarine due to the short range of the Sagarika. The proximity of the submarine to the shore could severely limit its maneuvering capability in the event it was discovered. [16] Furthermore, there is no indication that the Arihant is currently carrying Sagarikas, or that the Sagarika has been produced in any quantity other than for test flights.


References

[1] Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat,” Air Force ISR Agency, accessed June 20, 2014,http://www.afisr.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-130710-054.pdf.

[2] “Sagarika/dhanush,” Federation of American Scientists, accessed June 20, 2014,http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/india/missile/sagarika.htm.

[3] Ibid

[4] “ Sagarika,” Global Security, accessed June 20, 2014,http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/india/sagarika.htm.

[5] Cmde Rai, “The Inside Story of Slbm K-15,” Indian Defense Review, February 11, 2013, accessed June 20, 2014,http://www.indiandefencereview.com/spotlights/the-inside-story-k-15/.

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat,” Air Force ISR Agency, accessed June 20, 2014,http://www.afisr.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-130710-054.pdf.

[9] Hans Kristensen, “Indian Nuclear Forces 2012,” Bulletin for the Atomic Scientist, August, 2012, accessed June 20, 2014, http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1177/0096340212451431.

[10] “Country Profile India: Missiles,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, accessed June 27, 2014, http://www.nti.org/country-profiles/india/delivery-systems/.

[11] Ibid

[12] Ibid

[13] N.C. Bipindra, “Contrary to Claims, Arihant Not Prepared for Sea Trials,” The New Indian Epress, June 18, 2014, accessed June 27, 2014, http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/Contrary-to-Claims-Arihant-not-Prepared-for-Sea-Trials/2014/06/18/article2286134.ece.

[14] “Country Profile India: Missiles,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, accessed June 27, 2014, http://www.nti.org/country-profiles/india/delivery-systems/.

[15] Hans Kristensen, “Indian Nuclear Forces 2012,” Bulletin for the Atomic Scientist, August, 2012, accessed June 20, 2014, http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1177/0096340212451431.

[16] Ibid

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