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 is special about K-4?

  • 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.

Nuclear Triad

India is among the six nations in the world to have the capability to fire a nuclear missile from land, air and undersea. The others are US, Russia, China, France and UK.

The induction of INS Arihant into the Navy in 2016 has been one of the biggest developments for the armed forces in the last decade. With this induction, India completed the nuclear triad

India is now among a handful of countries having the capability to design, construct and operate ballistic missile submarines, known as SSBNs.

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.
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