India set to test fire first under water ballistic missile

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New Delhi, Feb 18 (UNI) India today joined the select group of nations which have developed under water ballistic missile system capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

The ballistic missile, K-15, having a range of 700 km was likely to be test fired soon, a top Defence Research and Development Organsation (DRDO) confirmed here today.

''We have completed all the preparations for the launch.

It will be test fired within a month...the moment we get a submarine,'' DRDO chief controller Dr S Prahlada told journalists on the sidelines of the fifth DefExpo here.

He said five ''different kinds of tests'' have already been conducted from a temporary pontoon platform, a replica of a submarine.

''The missile system is ready for the test any time now in the seas off the integrated test range (ITR) site at Chandipur-on-sea in Orissa's Balasore,'' Dr Prahlada added.

This was for the first time that any defence official has formally admitted to the existence of indigenously developed K-15 missile system.

The project, till now, was being developed behind a heavy ''official veil'' of secrecy.

The missile system was likely to be deployed on yet another secret project of the DRDO, code-named ATV (Advanced Technology Vessel), a nuclear powered submarine, sources said.

With the successful test, India would join the select group of nations such as the US, Russia, France and China to possess such a capability.

Dr Prahlada said preparations have also been made to conduct the second test of 3000-km range Agni-III missile.

The Government has also cleared proposals for a joint venture with Israel to produce long-range surface-to-air missile for the Indian Navy, he added.


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