DRDO chief confirms submarine ballistic missile ready

DRDO chief confirms submarine ballistic missile ready

Sunday, July 08, 2007

New Delhi, July 7: The country is set to complete its nuclear triad with DRDO indicating that it has completed development of a Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM).

While earlier DRDO refused to comment on the project, its chief M Natarajan on Saturday said a “special purpose missile” for the Navy has been launched.

Ministry sources said he was referring to the Sagarika or PJ 02 project SLBM. The two-stage missile, with a range of over 800 km, has been successfully tested thrice.

This will give India the capability to launch nuclear weapons from land, air and under sea.

Sources said an award for developing a “special armament system for a strategic programme of national importance” given to a team led by S K Vasudeva is an indication that the project would shortly be made public.

The missile has been developed for deployment on the indigenous nuclear submarine code named Advanced Technology Vehicle. The submarine is scheduled for sea trials next year.

DRDO also said it was working on an advanced version of the Agni III to increase its range by 1,500 km. Nata- rajan said scientists working on the project have figured out a way of adding a third stage to the missile that will push up its range to 5000 km.

“It looks possible to extend the range in the same model. We may be able to fit in another phase to extend it to another 1,500 km,” Natarajan said. The Agni III missile will be ready for induction into strategic command by 2010.