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India Reveals Secret Underwater Test-Launch of Ballistic Missile
India has revealed that it secretly conducted the maiden test-firing of an intermediate-range ballistic missile from an underwater platform in March.
The test of the nuclear-capable K-4 missile took place on March 24 but was only widely announced by Indian news organizations this past weekend. A successful underwater test-firing of the shorter-range B-05 ballistic missile was previously reported to have occurred on March 24.
The two-stage K-4 was successfully tested to its full range of approximately 1,860 miles from a pontoon about 100 feet below the surface in waters off the Visakhapatnam coast, the Hindu reported on Friday.
"It was an excellent flight on March 24," unidentified officials said. "We will do many more missions to prove the missile's subsystems and increase their reliability."
"The K-4 is a worthy successor to the [467 mile B-05], India's first undersea missile, and extends India's strike range substantially," sources with the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization were quoted by the Sunday Guardian as saying.
Nuclear strategist retired Rear Adm. Raja Menon said he sees the K-15 as an intermediate step on the way to the development of a long-range SLBM.
Nuclear-armed K-4 missiles are planned to be deployed on India's first ballistic missile submarine, the INS Arihant, and two follow-on boats. The INS Arihant could begin sea trials later this year. The next phase after that would be a series of test-firings of the K-4 from the submarine.
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