India Successfully Tests Intermediate-Range Nuclear-Capable Submarine-Launched Ballistic MissileApril 11, 2016
India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has once again test-fired the K-4 nuclear-capable submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM)–this time from aboard the Indian Navy’s indigenously built nuclear submarine, the INS Arihant, the first submarine in its class. According to press reports citing DRDO officials, the test was “highly successful” and involved a fully operationally configured K-4 with a dummy payload. In March 2016, DRDO had successfully tested the K-4 from a submerged platform in the Bay of Bengal; DRDO officials at the time declared the test to have been a “roaring success.”
According to the New Indian Express, the Arihant-based K-4 test was “conducted on March 31 nearly 45 nautical miles away from Vishakhapatnam coast in Andhra Pradesh.” The K-4 missile was fired from the Arihant‘s onboard SLBM silos.
India’s K-4 is an intermediate-range, nuclear-capable, submarine-launched ballistic missile. Though official details remain scarce given the project’s sensitivity, most estimates place the K-4′s range at roughly 3,500 kilometers. Recent testing of the K-4 has sought to test the full operational range of the missile. As my colleague Franz-Stefan Gady discussed in March, “the K-4 was only tested to a range of 3,000 kilometers” in previous testing. In addition to its range, recent testing as sought to test the SLBM’s accuracy. Claims by DRDO scientists and publicly available information on the system suggest that the K-4 is a highly accurate system. As Franz has discussed, DRDO scientists have boasted that the K-4 has “near zero circular error probability” and uses “a Ringer Laser Gyro Inertial navigation system.”