NEW DELHI — India’s defense research agency has developed its first submarine-launched ballistic missile and plans to develop a new range of missiles to boost the country’s military.
The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is working toward surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles with a range of 300 km (186 mi.) and air-to-surface missiles with a range of 400 km, according to Avinash Chander, DRDO’s chief controller of Research & Development (missiles and strategic systems) says. India currently has surface-to-air missiles with a 50 km range.
“The [future goal] is to realize micro- and nano-missiles using MEMS [micro-electromechanical systems] and NEMS [nano-electromechanical systems] technologies,” Chander says. “A nano-missile with low cost and low weight is what we are aiming for.”
DRDO also has plans to develop seek-and-destroy tactical missiles, smart bombs and submarine-launched cruise missiles, he adds.
According to a DRDO official, India has recently developed its first submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) for the indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant. “Now, the SLBM system is ready for induction,” the official says.
India’s first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine, the 6,000-ton INS Arihant, is still undergoing harbor acceptance trials and soon will undertake extensive sea acceptance trials. This will be followed by a test firing of the 10-ton SLBM, which can carry a 1-ton nuclear payload, from the missile silos on the ship.
The SLBM project has been under wraps for quite some time, unlike India’s other missile programs such as the Agni series. Specifications of the new SLBM are not immediately known, but its strike range is believed to be around 700 km.
The development of the underwater-launched ballistic missile will help India in completing its nuclear triad, giving it the ability to strike from air, land and under the sea. Apart from India, this capability has been acquired only by four nations: The U.S., Russia, France and China.