- India recently successfully test fired its indigenously developed nuclear capable Shaurya missile from a test range in Odisha.
About: Shaurya missile
- Shaurya is a surface-to-surface medium range missile, which has a strike range of 750 to 1,000-km and can reach speeds of 7.5 Mach (seven and half times the speed of sound).
- The 10 metre-long missile can carry both nuclear and conventional warheads weighing up to 1,000 kilograms.
- It is equipped with multiple advanced computing technology and high accuracy navigation and sophisticated control and guidance systems.
- The two-stage missile powered by solid fuel, is so fast that the enemy’s radar will get less than 400 seconds to detect, track, and intercept it.
Canister based system
- Shaurya, like many of the modern missiles, is a canister based system, which means that it is stored and operated from specially designed compartments.
- The canister launch makes the missile deadlier because the armed forces get the operational flexibility to swiftly transport and fire it from anywhere they want.
- The canister based system also improves the shelf life of weapons significantly.
About: K Family of missiles
- The K family of missiles are primarily Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs), which have been indigenously developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and are named after Dr APJ K
- The development of these missiles began in the late 1990s as a step towards completing India’s nuclear triade. the capability of launching nuclear weapons from land, sea and air based assets.
- As these missiles are to be launched from submarines, they are lighter, smaller and stealthier (secretive) than similar land-based missiles.
Missiles in the K-family:
- The early development trials of K-15 and K-4 missiles had begun in the early 2010s.
- SLBM K-15 Sagarika has a range of at least 750 kilometers. K-15s have been integrated into INS Arihant submarine of the Indian Navy.
- India has developed and successfully tested multiple times the intermediate-range SLBM K-4 missiles from the family which has a range of 3500 km.
- It is reported that more members of K-family — reportedly to have been codenamed K-5 and K-6 — with ranges of 5000 and 6000 km are also under development.
Land variants of K-missiles:
- While K family are primarily submarine-fired missiles, the land and air variants of some of its members have also been developed by the DRDO.
- Shaurya missile, whose user trial was recently conducted, is a land variant of short range SLBM K-15 missile.
Strategic importance of SLBMs
- The capability of being able to launch nuclear weapons from submarine platforms is important due to India’s relations with its two neighbours China and Pakistan.
- With China having deployed many of its submarines, including some which are nuclear powered and nuclear capable, this capacity building is crucial for India’s nuclear deterrence.
- The 2016 commissioned nuclear powered Arihant submarine and its class members which are in the pipeline, are the vessels capable of launching missiles with nuclear warheads.
- These submarines can not only survive a first strike by the enemy but can also launch a strike in response which gives Credible Nuclear Deterrence to India.
- India’s nuclear doctrine is based on a policy of minimum credible deterrence, with no-first-use and non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states.
About: INS Arihant
- INS Arihant is the lead ship of India’s Arihant class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines.
- INS Arihant is the first of the five vessels in the class of submarines designed and constructed as a part of the Indian Navy’s Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project.
- It can go up to 300 metres under water and is powered with a 83 MW nuclear power reactor.
- The vessel is classified as a Strategic Strike Nuclear Submarine by India.
- Strategic Strike Nuclear Submarine are usually bigger in size and are powered by a nuclear reactor, as a result they can remain submerged for months without the need to come out of water. This allows them to travel secretly for long distances.
- They are supposed to be the best guarantee for a second-strike capability (a strike in response to an attack) in a possible nuclear exchange scenario.