K Missile family

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'K' Missile family
Place of originIndia
Service history
In serviceIn production (K-15)[1]
2017 (K-4)[2]
Used byIndian Navy
Production history
ManufacturerDefence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) &
Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)
ProducedK-15 In production
Mass6[3]-7[4] tonnes (K-15)
17 tonnes (K-4)
2 tonnes (Air-launched)
Length10 m (K-15, K-4)
12 m (K-6)
Width0.74 m (K-15)
1.3 m (K-4)

Maximum firing range5,000 km (K-5 SLBM)[2]
WarheadK-15:1 tonne,
K-4:1-2.5 tonnes,
K-5:2.5 tonne
500 kg (Air-Launched Version)
Blast yieldK-4: 200-250 kilotons

3,500 km
Maximum depthover 50 m (tested)
SpeedMach 7.5 (Shaurya, which is land-based version[5] of sagarika K-15 missile)[1]
Arihant class submarine

The K family of missiles named after Indian scientist and former president A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, is a series of submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) developed by India to boost its second strike capabilities and thus augment its nuclear deterrence. Information about this family of missiles has mostly been kept classified. It is reported that "K" missiles are faster, lighter and stealthier than their Agni missile counterparts.[2][6]

Missiles in the series[edit]

Type Range Weight Warhead length Status
K-15 SLBM[2] 750 km-1,500 km 6[3]-7 tonnes[4] 1 tonne 10 m K-15/B-05 in series production. Land-based missile awaiting clearance. Tests completed.[3][7]
K-4 SLBM [2] 3,500 km 20 tonnes 2.5 tonnes 10 m First tested from a depth of 30 metres on 24 March 2014. More tests expected before being getting operational.[8][9][10]
Air Launched [2] 200 km 2 tonnes 500 kg 4 m Hypersonic missile project called Air launched article. It is designated to fit with Sukhoi Su-30MKI.
K-5 (SLBM) 5,000 km[11] Unspecified 1 tonne Unspecified Under development by DRDO[12][13]
K-6 (SLBM) 6,000 km Unspecified 2-3 tonnes 12m Under development by DRDO's Advanced Naval Systems lab.[11][14]

K-15 or Sagarika missile[edit]

Sagarika SLBM
The Sagarika/K-15 missile (Sanskrit: सागरिका, IAST:Sāgarikā, meaning Oceanic) is the SLBM version of the land-based Shaurya missile.[1][5] With a shorter range than K-4 missiles it is to be integrated with Arihant class submarine concurrently developed for the use of Indian Navy.

Sagarika/K-15 was developed at the DRDO’s missile complex in Hyderabad. The complex consists of the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), the Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) and the Research Centre, Imarat (RCI).
DRDL designed and developed the missile, while the ASL provided the motors and propulsion systems. The RCI’s contribution was in avionics, including control and guidance systems and inertial navigation systems.[4]

Medium range K-15 ballistic missile has a range between 700  km[15] to 1,500 km[16][17] with varying payload. This will also get help from Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) to ensure guaranteed national access to precision navigation.[18] These will enable high accuracy required for precision strike. The last developmental test of the missile was conducted on 28 January 2013 from an under water launch platform off the coast of Visakhapatnam .[19][20]

K-4 Missile[edit]

K-4 is an intermediate-range submarine-launched ballistic missile under development by DRDO. It is a 10 m long missile weighing 20 tonnes, capable of carrying a 1 tonne payload up to a range of 3,500 km.[2] INS Arihant, first of the Arihant Class Submarines, will be able to carry 4 K-4 missiles. The K-4 missile was successfully tested on 24 March 2014 from an underwater pontoon submerged 30 m deep.[8]

K-5 Missile[edit]

K-5 missile is reportedly being developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian strategic forces’ underwater platforms.[13][21] It will arm the future variants of Arihant class submarines of the Indian Navy. Reportedly, DRDO is in the process of developing a submarine-launched solid fuel missile with a maximum range of 5,000 kilometres.[11]

K-6 Missile[edit]

K-6 missile is SLBM which is reportedly under development by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)'s Advanced Naval Systems Laboratory in Hyderabad. It is a three-stage solid fuel MIRV capable missile with a length of 12m, width of 2m, a payload of 2-3 tonne warhead and a maximum range of 6,000 km. It will arm the S5 class of ballistic missile submarines of the Indian Navy.[14][11]


These 'K' missiles are intrinsically important for India's nuclear deterrence arsenal because they provide India with a much needed ideal and invulnerable second-strike capability stated in India's Nuclear Doctrine and thus shift the balance of power in India's favour in Asian region.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "India To Begin Production of Nuke Missile". Defencenews. 2011-09-27.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Secret 'K' missile family". Indiatoday. 2010-11-20.
  3. ^ a b c "News / National : India successfully test-fires underwater missile". The Hindu. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  4. ^ a b c "Sagarika missile test-fired successfully". The Hindu. 2008-02-27.
  5. ^ a b T.S. Subramanian (November 2008). "Shourya test-fired successfully". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ "India activates 'secret' undersea missile". The New Indian Express. 11 August 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  7. ^ "India test fires missile from under sea, completes nuclear triad". NDTV.com. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  8. ^ a b "Success on debut for undersea launch of missile". The Hindu. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  9. ^ "India tests new underwater nuclear missile". The Times of India. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  10. ^ "India tests 3,000 km range n-missile in secret". The Sunday Guardian. 10 May 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d "From India Today magazine: A peek into Indias top secret and costliest defence project, nuclear submarines". Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  12. ^ "DRDO Lab Develops Detonator for Nuclear Capable Agni-V Missile As It Gets Ready For Launch". Defence-News. January 17, 2012. Archived from the original on January 22, 2012.
  13. ^ a b Firstpost (2013-01-28). "India test fires first ever ballistic missile from underwater". Firstpost. Retrieved 2013-05-02.
  14. ^ a b Diplomat, Saurav Jha, The. "India's Undersea Deterrent". The Diplomat. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  15. ^ "Front Page : Sagarika missile test-fired successfully". The Hindu. 2008-02-27. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
  16. ^ FP Staff (2011-02-23). "5 things you need to know about K-15, India's underwater ballistic missile". Firstpost. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
  17. ^ PTI Jan 27, 2013, 06.20PM IST. "India test-fires ballistic missile from underwater platform - Times Of India". Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 2013-01-30.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ "Shourya Missile" (PDF).
  19. ^ Business Standard. "India test fires ballistic missile from underwater platform". Business Standard. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  20. ^ Last Updated: 28 Jan 06:16 AM IST (2010-01-15). "India test fires ballistic missile from underwater platform". Thestatesman.net. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  21. ^ "Agni-VI with 10000 km range to be ready by 2014". IBNLive. Retrieved 17 July 2012.

Further reading[edit]

  • Cohen, Bharat Karnad ; foreword by Stephen P. (2008). India's nuclear policy. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Security International. ISBN 0275999467.