The nuclear capable submarine-launched ballistic missile, K-4, which was successfully test-fired Sunday, had some of its key components designed and developed at the three facilities of Pune-headquartered Armament and Combat Engineering (ACE) cluster of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The K-4, which is an intermediate-range missile with maximum range of 3,500 kilometres, has been designed to arm the Arihant Class submarines of the Indian Navy. On Sunday, the test was conducted off the coast of Andhra Pradesh from an underwater platform in the Bay of Bengal during daytime, news agency ANI reported. The missile is part of the K series of the missile, which are Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) named after Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.
The testing of various stages of development of the missile started in 2010 and the developed missile has been test-fired successfully in 2014 and 2016. Sources said that the test Sunday further validated the capabilities of the missile to carry nuclear warheads.
The three facilities of the ACE cluster of the DRDO that contributed to the development of the missile are High Energy Material Research Laboratory (HEMRL) and Research and Development Establishment (Engineers), also known as R&DE (Engrs) in Pune, and Advanced Centre for Energetic Materials (ACEM) in Nashik.
The high energy and motor systems of the missile have been designed, developed and made by HEMRL and ACEM. The launch system of the missile has been developed by the R&DE (Engrs).
The HEMRL, which works in technologies relating to high explosives, propellants and pyrotechnics, has developed propellants and motor systems for almost all the missiles, including Prithvi, versions of the Agni, Akash, and Nag, all developed by the DRDO till now. For K-4, the facility has contributed in design and development of the stage separators, the three motors powering various stages of the missile, the gas generator, the low thrust boosters and some more systems.
Some of these systems have been produced by ACEM, which is a facility that processes composite propellants for various DRDO programmes.
The R&DE (Engrs) not only develops engineering systems for three defence forces, but also ground support mechanisms for various weapons programmes.
The Naval Systems Group of the facility has developed the launch system of the K-4 missile.
“The capability of the hypersonic missile of being able to be launched from a submarine platform will certainly be a key strategic addition to the naval might. But what makes the system even more effective is its high accuracy and the maneuverability. The development of K series missiles is one of the ways DRDO pays tribute to Dr Kalam,” said a DRDO official.
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