India today successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from INS Arihant named after the founder of Jainism (Mahavira). The missile, which was tested to a predetermined range, impacted the target area in the Bay of Bengal with very high accuracy, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.
All operational and technological parameters of the weapon system have been validated, the statement read.
How ballistic missile launched from INS Arihant strengthens Indian defence
The successful user training launch of the SLBM by INS Arihant is significant to prove crew competency and validating the SSBN programme, a key element of India’s nuclear deterrence capability, the ministry said.
The missile can carry nuclear warheads.
A robust, survivable and assured retaliatory capability is in keeping with India’s policy to have 'minimum credible deterrence' that underpins its ‘no first use’ nuclear doctrine, the statement said. It means that India now has several options for firing ballistic missiles at enemy targets, including the navy/submarine option that is not easy to detect and block during a war.
INS Arihant has four vertical launch tubes, which can carry 12 (three per launch tube) smaller K-15 missiles or four larger K-4 missiles. The K-4 has a longer range of 3,500 km, which means it can reach both Pakistan and China from its launchpad in Indian waters. It commenced trials in 2014.
More about INS Arihant
INS Arihant (SSBN 80) is a designated S2 strategic strike nuclear submarine. It is the lead ship of India's Arihant class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines.
The 6,000-tonne vessel was built under the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project at the Ship Building Centre in the port city of Visakhapatnam.
Arihant was launched on 26 July 2009, the anniversary of Vijay Diwas (Kargil War Victory Day), by then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. After fitting out and extensive sea trials, on 23 February 2016, the submarine was ready for operations, commissioned in August 2016 and deployed operationally in 2018.
In January 2018, it was reported that an aft hatch on the submarine was left open by mistake while the Arihant was docked in 2017, leading to saltwater flooding the propulsion area, rendering the submarine inoperative for ten months while corroding pipes were replaced.
On 5 November 2018, INS Arihant completed its first 20-day long deterrent patrol the previous day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the crew of Arihant after the patrol.
User training launch
To prove crew competency and validate the SSBN programme, INS Arihant successfully launched SLBM with a predetermined range and hit the target area in the Bay of Bengal with high accuracy today. A defence source said the missile launched was not K-4 but an older SLBM. At present, INS Arihant is armed with K-15 SLBM with a range of 750 km.