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India to test submarine launched missile: DRDO

Posted on 18 February, 2008 | IANS

New Delhi, Feb 18 : India will soon test-fire its indigenously developed submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) called Sagarika, a top defence scientist said Monday.

"We are ready for test-firing the missile," Prahlada, the chief controller for R&D of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), told reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing DEFEXPO-2008 international military exhibition here.

However, since the Indian Navy does not have a submarine capable of firing an SLBM, the test firing of the missile on Feb 24-25 will be conducted from an underwater launcher positioned in the Bay of Bengal.

The underwater launcher will be positioned 50 metres deep in the sea and 8 km off the Orissa coast.

Prahlada, who uses only one name, said the DRDO was also readying for a "crucial" test of the 700-km range Sagarika from a submarine.

"We have asked the navy for a submarine to enable us conduct the test," he said.

However, this could be a while away as Russia is yet to respond to the Indian Navy's request for loaning an Akula-class submarine that is capable of launching SLBMs. The navy's Russian-made Kilo-class submarines and the German-designed HDW submarines do not have the capability to fire such missiles.

Sagarika has been test-fired on five previous occasions.

The success achieved last year with exo-atmospheric (outside the atmosphere) and endo-atmospheric (within the atmosphere) anti-ballistic missiles, as also with the surface-to-air Akash missile, has apparently encouraged the DRDO scientists to test the Sagarika.

Powered by a turbojet, the missile can carry a 500-kg payload. It is 8.5 metres long and about a metre in diameter.

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