India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) started preparations for test launch of a submarine-based ballistic missile (SLBM), reports Express Buzz. The missile will be launched from underwater position off the Andhra Pradesh state. Expectedly, the trials will be held in Jan 2011.
DRDO does not specify which missile is to be tested. At present, India develops two missiles of this class – K-4 (Agni-III SLBM) and K-15 (Sagarika). As for directors of test range Chandipur, the new SLBM will be launched by underwater stand which is almost identical to submarine.
Tests of K-type ballistic missiles will be carried out by abovementioned stand for next several years, since the country does not have a missile-tubed submarine so far. In prospect, trials will be held by Indian nuclear sub Arihant launched in 2009; the sub is to be commissioned in 2011.
According to DRDO, both K-4 and K-15 SLBMs are absolutely ready for tests. K-15 Sagarika will be armed with a 1-ton warhead capable to destroy targets at 700 km. The missile has a weight of 17 tons; its length is 10 meters and diameter is 0.74 meters. It is known that ground-based variant of the missile (Shaurya) is being developed on the basis of K-15.
Being a naval version of ground-based Agni-III SLBM, K-4 will be armed with 2.5-ton warhead capable to destroy targets at the distance up to 3,500 km. Other specifications of this missile are undisclosed so far. Reportedly, it will be smaller than Agni-III and armed with nuclear warheads (yield of 200-250 kiloton).