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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

K-15 SLBM is a beast loaded with gen-next tech: Scientists

By Anantha Krishnan M

Express News Service

Bangalore: The scientists at Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Missile Complex in Hyderabad are an inspired lot, thanks to successful test (14h one) of the 750-km range submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), K-15. The missile (codenamed B-05), was tested for its full range from a submerged pontoon, off the coast of Vishakapatanam on January 27, 2013.
Sources in the Missile Complex tell Express that K-15 was launched from an underwater vehicle with an approximate depth of 50 meters. But, what adds more teeth to the killer missile is the array of gen-text technologies that are embedded onboard, a majority of features till kept under wraps. “The medium range missile, with a capacity to be launched from multiple platforms has so far undergone many trials. It is primarily employed against land targets. The missile is incorporated with very-high accuracy navigation systems with completely different and specific schemes, that can steer the vehicle towards the target with single-digit accuracy,” sources said.
The scientists have designed special alignment techniques with most modern algorithms which are specific to underwater missions. “We have used most modern computing and actuating systems for the missile. It has a two-stage booster, with one being employed under water and the other above the surface. The underwater dynamics are totally different from the aerodynamic environment. Here the hydro-dynamics come into picture and you got to take into account factors like water pressure, wave speed, its direction and many more,” sources said.
The K-15 missile is a ballistic one, but travels through the atmosphere all through the mission. It is being controlled and guided all through by onboard guidance computer system. The missile now enters probably its most-critical phase, when it will be integrated with India’s first home-grown N-powered submarine INS Arihant, which is warming up for its maiden sea-acceptance trials.
“We will have more number of trials on the naval platform, but parallely the missile will get into the production mode. Once the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) goes live next year, all our future missions will have pin-point navigation support,” sources said.
Speaking to Express from Hyderabad, Defence Research Development Laboratory (DRDL) Director and K-15 Programme Director A K Chakrabarty said his team had a challenging job on hand. “When you execute underwater missions, the rules of the game changes. While launching the missile (from a submarine) nothing should happen to the platform, considering it's a manned one. Hence, it was a huge challenge to our designers,” Chakrabarty said.
Over 200 scientists and officers from five DRDO labs, including DRDL (Hyderabad), Research Centre Imarat (Hyderabad), Advanced System Laboratory (Hyderabad), R&D Engineers (Pune) and Interim Test Range (Balasore) are involved with the K-15 project. More than 50 per cent of scientists who worked on the project are said to be youngsters holding Sc-B and Sc-C ranks in DRDO.
Copyright@The New Indian Express

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