New Delhi: India will soon carry out the next phase of tests for two nuclear-capable ballistic missiles including a submarine-launched one, according to sources in the defence and security establishment.

The missile will likely be fired between 11 and 16 March, with the final launch depending on several factors, including weather conditions, the sources said.

The two missiles that are to be tested are the K4 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and the land-based Agni-V long-range, surface-to-surface ballistic, nuclear-capable missile.

Authorities have issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) in this regard over the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), which means that flying objects cannot be allowed here.

The length of the no-fly zone over the Bay of Bengal is 3,550 kilometres. While the strike range of the K4 SLBM is 3,500 km, the strike range of the land-based Agni-V is more than 5,000 kilometres.

The test for the K4 missile was first undertaken in 2020 from an undersea platform. At that time, the missile was tested from a fixed underwater pontoon on the east coast.

The K4 missile will be fitted with Arihant-class submarines. The K4 is the most potent missile in India’s inventory that can be fired from a submarine, giving the country unprecedented second-strike capability and a huge deterrence power.

India currently operates the submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) K-15, which, however, has a limited range of just about 750 kilometres.

Under development with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are the K5 and K6 missiles, which are likely to have a range of 5,000 to 6,000 kilometres.

INS Arihant had carried out a successful launch of an SLBM in 2022 and it was tested to a predetermined range.

India first successfully test-fired the Agni-5, a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in 2021. The missile uses a three-stage solid fuelled engine.

When it was first fired in 2021, the Ministry of Defence in a statement said that the successful test of Agni-5 was in line with India’s stated policy to have “credible minimum deterrence” that underpinned the commitment to “no first use”.

The Agni-5 is a surface-to-surface nuclear capable missile with a range of more than 5,000 kilometres.

India is among the countries that wield a nuclear triad — the capability to fire a nuclear missile from land, air and the sea — alongside the US, Russia, China and France.

(With Agency Inputs)