The INS Arihant is India’s lone nuclear submarine which is equipped with the Pakistan specific Sagarika (Oceanic) Submarine Launched Strategic Missile (SLBM), also known by the code names K-15 or B-05, having a range of 750 km. A “strategic missile” is military euphemism for nuclear warhead-carrying missile capability. Indian scientists have been developing longer range SLBMs which will provide the country with a much-needed capability to take down long-range targets from underwater, the intermediate-range variant is called the K-4 which is also a nuclear capable submarine-launched ballistic missile with a maximum range of about 3,500 km. The K-4 will also arm the INS Arihant. The K-4 is purportedly a China specific deterrent system.
India has joined the league of select countries that have fully operational submarine-launched strategic missile systems capable of hitting targets with nuclear warheads at a range of 750 kilometres. Before this, such technologies were available only in the US, Russia, China and France.
A formal announcement of this achievement was made by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who felicitated A Joseph and M Ugender Reddy, the two scientists who developed the missiles, during the annual award ceremony of the Defence Research Development Organisation in New Delhi in May 2018.
— Raksha Mantri (@DefenceMinIndia) May 14, 2018
India’s costliest defence project — a Rs 90,000 crore push to develop and construct a fleet of nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed submarines monitored directly by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval — has been making steady progress away from media glare.
|Designation||Sagarika / K-15 / B05|
|Missile Variants||Prtihvi / Shaurya|
|Mobility and Role||Sub-Launched/Short-Range Ballistic Missile|
|Warhead Type / Weight||Nuclear or Conventional / 1,000 kg|
|MIRV and Yield||No MIRV Capabilities|
|Guidance System/Accuracy||Inertial Navigation / 40m CEP|
|Stages / Propellant||2 Stages / 1 Underwater Booster-Solid Fuel Motor|
|IOC / Status||2014 / In service|
|Status / Number of Units||Operational / N/A|
Two other SSBNs, which are still unnamed, will be launched by 2020 and 2022. The two boats will displace 1,000 tonnes more than the Arihant class and will be equipped with eight ballistic missiles or twice the Arihant’s missile load.