India tests underwater ballistic missile

Jan. 27, 2013 at 10:22 PM
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NEW DELHI, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- India advanced its nuclear capability, with scientists announcing it is the fifth nation to conduct a successful test of an undersea ballistic missile.

Sunday's Defense Research and Development Organization test of the nuclear-capable ballistic missile K-15, also called BO5, was conducted from an undisclosed undersea location in the Bay of Bengal, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

The test helped the country take another step toward achieving the so-called nuclear triad -- the ability to fire nuclear-tipped missiles from land, air and other reports said.

The Hindu newspaper reported the 10-meter (32-foot) tall Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) rose to an altitude of 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) and reached a distance of about 700 kilometers (435 miles) before splashing down into the sea waters near a pre-designated target point.

PTI said this was the first missile in the underwater category to have been fully developed by India, capable of being launched from a submarine. Only the United States, Russia, France and China have this capability.

"The medium range K-5 ballistic missile was test fired successfully today from an underwater pontoon and all parameters of the test firing were met," V.K. Saraswat, head of the DRDO, told PTI from his undisclosed location.

The report quoted other officials as saying about 10 trials of the missile had been carried out earlier and that the Sunday test was the last for the K-5.

Saraswat told PTI the missile is ready for deployment on various platforms, including the around 6,000-ton indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant currently under development. Prior to K-5, India had only land and aerial-launched ballistic missile capability.

"The launch of the SLBM is a complex technological development. And now since the missile is ready for induction, this is a major punctuation in India's indigenous missile development program," security expert Uday Bhaskar told PTI.

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