India takes a convincing step towards achieving nuclear triad capability
India's nuclear triad is far from complete. But India has crossed a major technological hurdle with the launch of the Bo5 (aka K-15) medium range missile from a pontoon submerged 50 metres below in the Bay of Bengal.
As a senior naval officer pointed out, "what has been demonstrated and achieved is the ejection of the missile from underwater, breaking surface at which stage the canister in which the missile is sealed falls off and the forward flight". (The missile has been tested to its full range of 700 km with longer range variants under development).
The next step is the integration of the missile on to the submarine INS Arihant, docked at Vizag for the last several months undergoing harbour trials. During this period which is expected to last at least two more months, every on-board system and sub-system is tested and re-tested. The reactor has not been turned on yet and the submarine systems are running on power generated from land.
By March-April, the integration of the missile with the Arihant is expected to get underway. Naval sources stressed this was not a technological hurdle, only complicated. In fact development work on the missile has proceeded in parallel with work on Arihant's "sea legs" since the two are meant for each other.
Sea trials could take as long as six to nine months with some naval officers saying it could take up to a year. Hopefully by 2015, the Arihant will be fully operational which is when the nuclear triad can be considered complete.
More about Surya GangadharanSurya Gangadharan is International Affairs Editor at CNN IBN and was in Egypt to cover the anti-government movement. He has covered wars in Afghanistan, the UN intervention in Somalia and Rwanda, elections in Pakistan and the civil conflict in Sri Lanka where he interviewed the top leadership of that time. He has worked for the Straits Times Group in Singapore and also for PTI, the Indian Express and India Today in India.
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