India has lined up four indigenously developed nuclear-capable missiles for tests this month. The missions assume significance as the missiles to be flight tested from different platforms are capable of reaching all major cities of Pakistan.
The weapon systems slated for tests are submarine-launched long-range ballistic missile K-4, supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, intermediate-range ballistic missile Agni-II and short range ballistic missile Prithvi.
Defence sources on Sunday told The Express that K-4 has been scheduled for November 8, followed by two versions of BrahMos - surface-to-air and air-to-air - on November 11, Agni-II on November 16 and Prithvi on November 20.
While the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will conduct a developmental trial of K-4 missile with advanced navigation systems from an underwater platform off Visakhapatnam coast, Strategic Forces Command (SFC) will carry out user trials of Agni-II and air-force version of Prithvi missile off Odisha coast.
BrahMos Aerospace will test fire two rounds of the cruise system to further demonstrate the weapon’s ability for precision hit. With the two tests - one from land-based platform and another from fighter aircraft Sukhoi-30 MKI - BrahMos will be put on trial for the seventh time this year.
The missile, a joint venture of India and Russia, has undergone five successful tests including two each in May and October and one in September. The air-variant of the cruise weapon is expected to go into production after the test against sea-based target.
Though four nuclear-capable missiles being lined up for tests in one month amidst heightened tension along border sends a clear signal of the country’s strategic preparedness, a defence official tried to cover it up stating that India sticks to its ‘no first use’ doctrine.
“Preparations are on in full swing for the tests. If weather permits, the missiles will be test fired as per the schedule. The focus will be on the performance of K-4 and Agni-II as both the missiles will be put to tests with new advanced systems,” he said and added that the atmosphere in November allows better visibility to track the flight path.
Kept under wraps by the DRDO so far, K-4 is about 12 metre long with a diameter of 1.3 metre. Capable of three dimensional manoeuvres, it weighs around 17 tonne and is capable of delivering two tonne warhead up to a distance of over 3,500 km.
The underwater missile is considered a potential weapon for India as it can deceive enemy radars and target important installations deep in Pakistan from a standoff distance in the Bay of Bengal.