The DRDO is getting set to conduct a crucial trial of sub-marine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) B-05, earlier known as K-15, from an underwater platform off the Visakhapatnam coast soon. The test would pave the way for its first ever test from a nuclear powered submarine later this year.
A reliable source at the Chandipur test range told this paper that the nuke-capable missile is likely to be test-fired from a pontoon (replica of a submarine) nearly 20 metre under sea off the Vizag coast on March 10.
Though earlier it was scheduled to be test-fired from the indigenously built nuclear powered submarine INS Arihant, the latter is yet to be readied for live trials. Sea trials of the submarine have not been started yet even though it went critical on August 10 last year.
This submarine is a part of the country’s Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) programme. India is the fifth country to have this technology after the US, Russia, France and China. It has to complete at least two to three trials before the deployment. Four more submarines of this class have been planned.
B-05 is the world’s best weapon in this class. Flying at hypersonic speed, the missile cannot be spotted until it is virtually upon the target. It engages in a series of terminal manoeuvres designed to defeat enemy missiles.
SLBM is a part of India’s ‘nuclear triad’ (air, ground and submarine-launched weapons) and invulnerable second-strike weapon as projected in the nuclear doctrine. The missile can be compared with the Tomahawk missile of the US.
DRDO scientists in presence of the Navy officials will conduct the test from a submerged pontoon as the Arihant submarine has not been fully ‘operational’. Radars, telemetry systems and other tracking equipment have been dispatched to various locations to track the missile properly.
The indigenously developed B-05 missile having a strike range of around 750 km is 10 metres in length and one metre in diameter. Its launch weight is about 10 tonnes.