With the K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile completing the development stage and ready for induction, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has gone back to the drawing board to develop a 5,000km-range submarine-launched platform that matches the surface-to-surface Agni-V missile, according to senior officials.
The 5,000km-range submarine-launched ballistic missile will carry the same K-series label and will cover all of Asia, parts of Africa, Europe and Indo-Pacific including South China Sea, the officials added.
While the details remain classified and the DRDO tight-lipped, the officials said that after testing the 3,500km-range K-4 missile twice in one week, the weapon is now fully developed with fixed parameters and is ready to be inducted on INS Arihant class of nuclear submarines. The solid fuelled K-4 is a three-metre tall missile with accuracy within 100 metres of its over one tonne nuclear warhead. Both the tests were conducted using underwater pontoon off the coast of Vizag on India’s eastern seaboard. At present, INS Arihant carries B-05 nuclear missile with a range of 750km, with the K-15 nomenclature being made redundant.
However, the DRDO focus is now on a 5,000km-range ballistic missile to join the elite club of US, Russia and Chinese nuclear submarines. According to officials, this missile will match Agni-V in range with a potent destruction capacity. India currently has no plans to develop any other longer-range missile as the 5,000km range will act as a deterrent to all its adversaries in Asia and beyond. “While we have the capacity to build a longer range nuclear missile of intercontinental range, the final decision lies with the government. And no such sanction has been either sought or approved,” said a senior official.