The missile, a land variant of Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) K-15, had completed its developmental trials in 2011

BHUBANESWAR: In the midst of escalating border tension, India is preparing to conduct the first user specific trial of the indigenously built hypersonic nuclear-capable missile Shaurya from a defence facility off Odisha coast on Saturday.

Developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the canister-launched missile with a dummy payload will be test fired from a land-based platform in full operational configuration marking the first test of the user series.

The missile, a land variant of Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) K-15, had completed its developmental trials in 2011.

The missile that forms the crucial third leg of India’s nuclear deterrent is less vulnerable to anti ballistic missile defence systems due to its high manoeuvrability.

“Preparation has reached final stage and the missile is ready for the crucial launch. The countdown has begun after the completion of range integration. If weather favours, the missile will be flight tested as per the schedule,” a senior defence official told TNIE.

The test assumes significance as it is one of the China specific missiles developed by the country. Though India has adopted ‘no-first-use’ policy, if launched from a submarine off the China coast, the missile can cover many of its major cities.

Shaurya can be stored in a composite canister, which makes it easy to handle and transport like the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.

The missile is so agile that radars across the borders will have less than 400 seconds to detect, track and intercept before it hits the target.

The missile has a unique feature of operation and maintenance. Like a ballistic missile, it is powered by solid fuel, but it can guide itself up to the target like a cruise missile.

Its two-stage rocket accelerates the missile to six times the speed of sound before it reaches an altitude of 40 km, after which it cruises towards the target, a defence scientist associated with the project said.

The sleek and complex missile having a strike range of about 750 km can carry warheads with a payload up to one tonne.

The 10-metre-long weapon system having width of about half-a-metre uses solid propellant which gives it a longer service-life and shorter launch time. 

“Shaurya has an element of surprise as it can be kept in locations camouflaged in underground silos from enemy surveillance and the enemies would not be able to detect till it is fired. It cannot be detected by satellite imaging, which makes the system war ready and lethal. The missile can be fired from both land and underwater submarines,” the scientist added.