K Missile Family of India: Here's everything you need to know

In this article, we have described briefly about India's K Missile Family, the recent tests conducted by DRDO and their strategic importance.
Created On: Oct 6, 2020 16:30 IST
Modified On: Oct 6, 2020 17:38 IST
K Missile Family of India
K Missile Family of India

On October 3, India conducted a successful trial of the nuclear-capable Shaurya missile from a defence facility in Odisha. It is a land version of the submarine-launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) K-15 Sagarika. Earlier, BrahMos surface-to-surface supersonic cruise missile was tested from the  Integrated Test Range in Odisha.  

Shaurya Missile

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Why in News?

On October 3, 2020, DRDO successfully conducted a trial of the nuclear-capable missile from a defence facility off the Odisha coast, amid border tensions between India and China. 

Key takeaways: 

1- It is a canister launched hypersonic surface-to-surface tactical missile and is developed by the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) for IAF (Indian Armed Forces). Due to the canister-based system, the missile can be stored without maintenance for long periods.  

2- The missile is 10 m long and weighs 6.2 tonnes and can carry a payload of 200kg to 1 ton. It has a range of 700 km to 1,900 km. 

3- The advanced version of the Shaurya missile is lightweight and can strike targets at a range of about 800 kilometres, complimenting the existing class of missile systems. 

4- In its last phase, while advancing close to the target, the missile reaches hypersonic speed, leaving defence and countermeasure systems useless. 

5- The maximum speed of the missile is Mach 7.5- seven and half times the speed of sound.

6- The missile is powered by solid fuel like a ballistic missile but can guide itself to the target like a cruise missile. 

7- It is less vulnerable to anti-ballistic missile defence systems due to its high manoeuvrability. 

Background

1- The Shaurya Missile was first launched from an underground facility of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur

2- On September 24, 2011, the missile was test-fired successfully for the third time from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur. This was the final test and the missile was ready for production and induction in the Indian Navy. 

K Missile Family

Key Takeaways:

1- It is named after Indian scientist and former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. 

2- The K family of missiles is a series of underwater launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) developed by DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and BDL (Bharat Dynamics Limited).

3- The K family missiles are faster, lightweight and stealthier than their land-based Agni Missiles. 

4- The K Family includes-- K-15 SLBM, K-4 SLBM, K-5 SLBM and K-6 SLBM. 

Brief description of the K Family Missiles:

1- K-15 SLBM or Sagarika Missile

It is the SLBM version of the land-based Shaurya Missile, having a medium-range (750 km to 1500 km) with the varying payload. It weighs between 6-7 tonnes and is 10 m long. On January 23, 2013,  the last developmental test of the missile was successful from an underwater launch platform off the coast of Visakhapatnam. 

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2- K-4 SLBM

This intermediate-range (3,500 km)  submarine-launched ballistic missile is currently under development by the DRDO. The missile is 10 m long and weighs 20 tonnes. The missile is capable of carrying a payload of around 2.5 tonnes. On March 24, 2014, the missile was first tested from a depth of 30 m. On January 19, 2020, India successfully tested K-4 SLBM  off the coast of Andhra Pradesh. INS Arihant will be able to carry up to 4 K-4 missiles

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3- K-5 SLBM

It is currently under development by the DRDO and will be deployed on the future variants of Arihant Class Submarines. As per the reports, the missile has a maximum range of 5,000km with the capacity of carrying a payload of 1 tonne. 

4- K-6 SLBM

It is currently under development by DRDO's Advanced Naval Systems Laboratory in Hyderabad. The K-6 missile is a three-stage solid-fuel MIRV capable missile of length 12 m. The missile has the capacity to carry warheads between 2-3 tonnes at the maximum speed of 6,000 km, as per reports. The K-6 missile will arm the  S5 class of ballistic missile submarines. 

Background

1- The development of these missiles began in the 1990s and is a step in fulfilling India's nuclear triad (capability of launching nuclear weapons from land, sea and air).

2- It is important to note that the information in the public domain about K family missiles is kept classified. 

Ballistic Missiles

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Key Takeaways:

1- These are rocket-propelled self-guided missile system following a parabolic trajectory on a predetermined target. 

2- The ballistic missiles vary in range and use. These are as follows:

a. Air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM)

b. Tactical ballistic missile (TBM)

c. Theatre ballistic missile (TBM)

d. Short-range ballistic missile (SRBM)

e. Medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM)

f. Intermediate-range ballistic missile

g. Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)

h. Submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM)

3- These missiles can carry high explosives as well as chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. 

Indian Ballistic Missile Defence Programme

 

1- It is the initiative to protect India from ballistic missile attacks from neighbouring countries-- Pakistan and China. 

2- After the Kargil war in 1999 between India and Pakistan, India started the development of the Ballistic Missile Defence system (BMD). 

3- It is a double-tiered system consisting of two land and sea-based interceptor missiles-- Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) Missile for high altitude interception and the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) Missile for lower altitude interception-- to intercept incoming missiles launched from 5,000 km away. 

4- Ballistic Missiles of India are-- Agni, K-4 (SLBM), Dhanush, Prithvi and Trishul. 

5- The first phase of the BMD program is completed. The Indian Air Force (IAF) and DRDO are awaiting clearance from the government to install the missile shield for New Delhi

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