The Indian K-4 SLBM (under testing) may, with a lightweight warhead, reach most of China, but this is only from launch points in the northern Bay of Bengal. Such predictable launch points, near land, are especially vulnerable to submarines - all partially Chinese manned - from nearby Bangladesh, Pakistan and from China itself. India sorely needs an SLBM with a range of 6,000 km to render its future SSBNs less vulnerable. (Diagram courtesy DRDO, H I Sutton, The Diplomat)
Following Indian submarine progress - Slow progress commissioning. of March 31, 2017 below are further comments from the same Anonymous.
On 1/4/17 2:31 AM Anonymous commented
"A number of things if I may add ( as the contributor anonymous :) )"
“1. Currently BrahMos is too big [at 700 mm diameter] to be fired from even 650 mm torpedo tubes. Range at 450 km initially while the eventual 800 km version will likely be considerably modified. One issue the IN I think still could face is in the realm of target tracking surveillance etc for effective use of the BrahMos as a land attack cruise missile (LACM). The Indian navy might need practice with networking of [Long Range Mission Planning?] “LRMPs etc to ensure 2 way link and updated target info for BrahMos and Nirbhay (subsonic can do TERCOM unlike supersonic missiles). Then they would be true force multipliers.”
“2. if I remember right Arihant has test fired K-4 ( whether to full range of 3500 km is questionable), however integration is still under progress apparently.”
[Wikipedia - In April 2016, it was reported that [a K-4] missile was successfully tested on 31 March 2016 from INS Arihant, 45 nautical miles away from Vishakhapatnam coast in Andhra Pradesh. The missile with a dummy payload was launched from the submarine in full operational configuration. The trial was carried out with the support of the personnel of Strategic Forces Command (SFC) and DRDO provided all the logistics. The missile was fired from 20-meter deep and covered more than 700 km before zeroing on the target with high accuracy reaching close to zero circular error probability (CEP). ]
“The YouTube video that is there in the public domain clearly shows Russian technical hand as the SLBM release resembles Russian launches uncannily.”
“3. INS Aridhaman will carry 8 K-4 missiles and will in all probability be in excess of 8,000 tons submerged. There is satellite picture of shipbuilding center Vishakhapatnam that shows a clear outline of a docked submarine. The length in excess of 100 m could be a strong hint that it could be the Aridhaman.” I will refrain from posting the link” [Pete has added this already published in early 2015 satellite photo of a docked small SSBN size at Vishakhapatnam. Unclear if the small SSBN is Arihant or Aridhaman!].
4. “Project 75i is in limbo as the strategic partnership issue apparently is not yet fixed at the policy level. TKMS with its Type 214 or even 209Mod would not be a bad choice and their PEMFC AIP is quite good. [With Manohar Parrikar abruptly departing his Defence Minister job on 13 March 2017], this area might go cooler. This is while [new Defence Minister (since 13 March 2017) Arun Jaitley] settles in to review this vexing strategic partnership issue... Apparently there are two differing opinions in the MoD bureaucracy. Nuclear subs with sufficient speed, diving ability and silent ops features might even clip [cancel] the need for [Project 75i] multiple ocean going AIP SSKs.
5. "PS: One theory I am recently liking to think about is that India could be going for a universal SSGN/SSBN. you might remember my comment on the validity of difference between the SSBN and SSN any longer. If the Russians help is going to be lukewarm in the future, a dual role. My personal opinion is a 3 tier sub solution of small subs ala type 210, AIP SSKs and SSBN/GN would be needed.”
Anonymous and Pete