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Underwater test of K-4 ballistic missile from INS Arihant off Vizag coast likely Sunday

BHUBANESWAR: With India turning its focus on anti-ballistic and nuclear-tipped underwater weapon systems, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is reportedly set to conduct a crucial test of intermediate-range submarine-launched ballistic missile K-4 on Sunday.

The indigenously developed most potent missile capable of delivering nuclear warheads at 3500 km away will be test-fired from an underwater platform, most likely INS Arihant submarine, nearly 30 nautical miles off Visakhapatnam coast.

The test assumes significance as the missile has been planned after several failed attempts in the last two years.

Though it was finally ready for trial in November last year, the test had to be deferred following very severe cyclonic storm Bulbul in the Bay of Bengal.

India has already issued notice to airmen (Notam) for regulating the movement of flights during test window.

Though the test window has been cited January 19 to 21 in the Notam, the test will most likely take place on Sunday.

Seafarers have also been alerted accordingly and coastal patrolling intensified prior.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) official confirmed that the range and missile integration have been completed and the stage is set for the K series missile, but he refused to divulge details about the secrete mission as it has international ramifications.

DRDO scientists are leaving no stone unturned for the success of K-4 trial as it will pave the way for its early induction and boost the development of its long-range sibling K-5, which will have a strike range of 5,000 km.

The highly manoeuvrable missile having an innovative technology of interlacing in three dimensions can also cruise at hypersonic speed.

“The exceptional feature of the underwater missile makes it difficult to be tracked and destroyed by any anti-ballistic missile defence system,” the sources claimed.

India is one among six nations including the US, Russia, France, UK and China that have the capability of firing nuclear-tipped missiles from all three platforms – land, air and undersea.

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