K-4 (SLBM)

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Type Intermediate-range SLBM
Place of origin India
Service history
In service Undergoing trials[1]
Used by Indian Navy
Production history
Designer Defence Research and Development Organisation
Manufacturer Bharat Dynamics Limited
Weight 17 t (19 short tons)[2]
Length 12 m (39 ft)[2]
Diameter 1.3 m (4.3 ft)[2]
Warhead 2,500 kg (5,500 lb)[3] Nuclear

Engine Solid-fueled
3,500 km (2,200 mi)[1][4]
Ring Laser Gyro Inertial navigation system[citation needed]
Accuracy Near zero CEP[1]
Arihant class submarines

K-4 is a nuclear capable Intermediate-range submarine-launched ballistic missile under development by Defence Research and Development Organisation of India to arm the Arihant-class submarines.[5] The missile has a reported effective range of over 3500 km.[4]


The development of the K-4 was undertaken after facing significant difficulties in compacting similarly capable Agni-III to equip INS Arihant which has a limited 17-metre (56 ft)-diameter hull. K-4 has range comparable to Agni-III with major length reduction from 17 metres (56 ft) to 12 metres (39 ft). The gas-booster designed for K-4 was successfully tested from a submerged pontoon in 2010.[6]


The missile is reported to be 12 metres (39 ft) long with a diameter of 1.3 metres (4 ft 3 in) and weighs nearly 17 tonnes (19 tons). It can carry a warhead weighing up to 2 tonnes (2.2 tons) and is powered solid rocket propellant. DRDO stated that the aim of the missile was to achieve a high accuracy.[2][full citation needed]


The missile was originally scheduled to be initially tested in September 2013 from a pontoon submerged 50 feet underwater, but the test was delayed due to unspecified issues.[2][7] In the event, the first test was carried out on 24 March 2014 from a depth of 30 metres. The test was successful and the missile was tested to a range of 3,000 km. The launch took place from a pontoon submerged more than 30 metres deep in the sea off the Visakhapatnam coast. After a powerful gas generator ejected it from the pontoon submerged in the Bay of Bengal, the K-4 missile rose into the air, took a turn towards the designated target, sped across 3,000 km in the sky and dropped into the Indian Ocean.[8]

As of May 2014, the missile was planned for further testing both from pontoons and submarines before being declared operational.[9][10][11][12][needs update]

It is reported that on 7 March 2016[13] the K-4 was tested from a submerged platform in the Bay of Bengal, and It was a “roaring success,” according to an unnamed source within India’s Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO),[14] Nevertheless there are no official confirmation on this widely reported missile test from government of India or DRDO.[15]

In April 2016, it was reported that the missile was successfully tested on 31 March 2016 from INS Arihant, 45 nautical miles away from Vishakhapatnam coast in Andhra Pradesh. The missile with a dummy payload was launched from the submarine in full operational configuration. The trial was carried out with the support of the personnel of Strategic Forces Command (SFC) and DRDO provided all the logistics. The missile was fired from 20-meter deep and covered more than 700 km before zeroing on the target with high accuracy reaching close to zero circular error probability (CEP).[13][16][17][18][19]

External links[edit]

  1. Video of K-4 missile test

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "K-4 Missile Set for 'Secret' Test". THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Indian Express, Longest Range Ballistic Missile All Set for Undersea Launch, accessed 2015-01-04
  3. ^ India to test a submarine-based ballistic missile
  4. ^ a b "India successfully test-fires underwater missile". The Hindu. 27 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  5. ^ Diplomat, Ankit Panda, The. "India Inches Closer to Credible Nuclear Triad With K-4 SLBM Test". The Diplomat. Retrieved 2016-03-26. 
  6. ^ The Hindu, DRDO plans another K-15 missile launch
  7. ^ "India's K-4 SLBM awaits first launch". Jane's. 27 August 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Panda, Ankit (May 13, 2014). "India Inches Closer to Credible Nuclear Triad With K-4 SLBM Test". TheDiplomat. 
  9. ^ "Success on debut for undersea launch of missile". The Hindu. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  10. ^ "India tests new underwater nuclear missile". The Times of India. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  11. ^ "India tests 3,000 km range n-missile in secret". The Sunday Guardian. 10 May 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2014. 
  12. ^ India’s Nuclear Triad Finally Coming of Age
  13. ^ a b "EXPRESS EXCLUSIVE: Maiden Test of Undersea K-4 Missile From Arihant Submarine". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2016-04-12. 
  14. ^ "K-4 Missile Test A Roaring Success". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  15. ^ "India successfully tests new K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile". Naval Technology. Retrieved 2016-04-12. 
  16. ^ "India tests most ambitious nuclear missile". indiatoday.intoday.in. Retrieved 2016-04-13. 
  17. ^ "Nuclear-capable K-4 ballistic missile tested from INS Arihant - Firstpost". Firstpost. Retrieved 2016-04-13. 
  18. ^ Diplomat, Ankit Panda, The. "India Successfully Tests Intermediate-Range Nuclear-Capable Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile". The Diplomat. Retrieved 2016-04-13. 
  19. ^ "DRDO's nuclear capable K-4 underwater missile test-fired again, this time from INS Arihant: Report". International Business Times, India Edition. Retrieved 2016-04-13.