From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : K-4 Missile, Circular Error Probability
Mains level : India's missile nuclear arsenal
India successfully test-fired the 3,500-km range submarine-launched ballistic missile, K-4. The test was carried out by the DRDO from a submerged pontoon off the Visakhapatnam coast around noon.
- K-4 is a nuclear-capable Intermediate-range submarine-launched ballistic missile developed and tested successfully in the month of January 2020 by DRDO.
- The missile has a maximum range of about 3500 km.
- Once inducted, these missiles will be the mainstay of the Arihant class of indigenous ballistic missile nuclear submarines (SSBN).
- It will give India the standoff capability to launch nuclear weapons submerged in Indian waters.
What’s so special about K-4?
: Circular Error Probability
- India’s Circular Error Probability (CEP) is much more sophisticated than Chinese missiles.
- The CEP determines the accuracy of a missile.
- The lower the CEP, the more accurate the missile is.
- There are very few countries which have managed to achieve this technological breakthrough.
About INS Arihant
- The Advanced Technology Project (ATV) began in the 1980s and the first of them, Arihant, was launched in 2009.
- INS Arihant, the first and only operational SSBN is armed with K-15 Sagarika missiles with a range of 750 km.
- Given India’s position of ‘No-First-Use’ (NFU) in launching nuclear weapons, the SSBN is the most dependable platform for a second-strike.
- Because they are powered by nuclear reactors, these submarines can stay underwater indefinitely without the adversary detecting it.
- The other two platforms — land based and air launched are far easier to detect.