India’s first ballistic missile nuclear submarine INS Arihant launched a Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) on October 14, which the defence Ministry said was significant to prove crew competency and validate the SSBN programme, a key element of India’s nuclear deterrence capability.
The Ministry said that the missile was tested to a predetermined range and impacted the target area in the Bay of Bengal with very high accuracy. All operational and technological parameters of the weapon system have been validated. It further said, “a robust, survivable and assured retaliatory capability is in keeping with India’s policy to have ‘Credible Minimum Deterrence‘ that underpins its ‘No First Use’ commitment.”
SUBMARINE; INS ARIHANT
Commissioned in 2016, INS Arihant is India’s first indigenous nuclear powered ballistic missile capable submarine. It was built under the secretive Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project, which was initiated in the 1990s. It is classified under the SSBN programme, which is a hull classification symbol for nuclear powered ballistic missile carrying submarines. There are reports that the second indigenous SSBN Arighat, which is in advanced stages of sea trials, is scheduled to be commissioned within this year. However, no official announcement has been made.
SLBMS; THE K FAMILY
The indigenously developed Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs), mostly referred to as K family missiles, are codenamed after former president and missile man Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.
Under the SLBM family, India has developed missiles of various ranges, including K-15 also called B-05 or Sagarika, which has a range of at least 750 kilometres. India has also developed and tested the K-4 missiles from the same family which has a range of 3500 kilometres. Both K-4 and K-15 have been designed to be operated from Arihant class of submarines.
Reports said that more members of K-family with higher ranges are on the cards. INS Arihant, which is a 6000 tonne submarine with a length of 110 metres and a breadth of 11 metres, can carry a dozen Sagarika missiles on board.