K Missile family
|'K' Missile family|
Underwater launch of a K Series Missile
|Place of origin||India|
|In service||In production (k-15)
|Used by||Indian Navy|
|Manufacturer||Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) &
Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)
|Produced||K-15 In production|
|Weight||6-7 tonnes (K-15)
17 tonnes (K-4)
2 tonnes (Air-launched)
|Length||10 m (K-15, K-4 present)
12 m (K-4 future variant)
|Width||0.74 m (K-15)
1.3 m (K-4)
|Maximum firing range||5,000 km (unnamed Longer legged variant of K-4)|
500 kg (Air-Launched Version)
|Blast yield||K-4: 200-250 kilotons|
|Maximum depth||over 50 m (tested)|
|Speed||Mach 7.5 (Shaurya, which is land-based version of sagarika K-15 missile)|
|Arihant class submarine|
The K family of missiles is a series of submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) developed by India to boost its second-strike capabilities and thus the nuclear deterrence. Information about this family of missiles has mostly been kept classified. "The classified 'K' missile family" is known as the "Black Project" which DRDO officials are covertly working on. It is reported that "the top secret indigenous "K" missiles are faster, lighter and stealthier."
Missiles in the series
|K-15 SLBM||750 km-1,500 km||6-7 tonnes||1 tonne||10 m||K-15/B-05 in series production. Land-based missile awaiting clearance. Tests completed.|
|K-4 Mark I (Agni-III MRBM) ||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.|
|K-4 Mark II (Agni-V ICBM)||5,000-8,000 km||17 tonnes||1 tonne||12 m||Under development|
|Air Launched ||200 km||2 tonnes||500 kg||4 m||Hypersonic missile project called ‘Air launched article’. It is designated to fit with Sukhoi Su-30-MKI.|
|K-5 SLBM (Agni-VI ICBM)||6,000-10,000 km||Unspecified||1 tonne||Unspecified||Under Development by DRDO|
K-15 or Sagarika K-15 missile
The Sagarika/K-15 missile (Sanskrit: सागरिका, IAST:Sāgarikā, meaning Oceanic) is the SLBM version of the land-based Shaurya missile. 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.
Medium range K-15 ballistic missile has a range between 700 km to 1,500 km with varying payload. This will also get help from Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) to ensure guaranteed national access to precision navigation. 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 .
K-4, named after former President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, is the next significant development under the K-X series by DRDO. It was covertly tested off the coast of Visakhapatnam in January, 2010. However, any detail regarding the developments in this project are confidential and this project is sometimes referred to as "BLACK PROJECT" whose existence is neither denied nor acknowledged by DRDO. While there are some reports that claim that K-4 is a submarine-launched version of AGNI-V, other reports state that it is actually a SLBM Version of the Agni-III missile that is being worked on. The goal of this project is to expand the second-strike options for the country, DRDO scientists told reporters during a briefing. A total of 258 private firms and 20 DRDO laboratories were involved in this venture. The Missile is said to have two variants. One with a range of 3,500 km that is 10 m long and the other with a range of 5,000 km will be 12 m long to arm future nuclear submarines of the Arihant class. K-4 will provide India with the capability to target China and Pakistan simultaneously. INS Arihant, first of the Arihant Class Submarines, will be able to carry 4 (10 m long) K-4s or 12 K-15s.The K-4 missile in its final version was successfully tested on 24 March 2014 from a simulated underwater pontoon submerged 30 m deep and the missile is expected to be operational on INS Arihant in early 2015.
K-5 missile is reportedly being developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian strategic forces’ underwater platforms. 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 6,000 kilometres  and a payload of one tonne. However, there is strong opacity regarding the details of this project.
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.
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