India’s first nuclear armed submarine, Arihant, is now ready for full fledged operations, having passed several deep sea diving drills as well as weapons launch tests over the past five months and a formal induction into the naval fleet is only a political call away.
The Arihant, which is the first of five nuclear missile submarines or SSBNs planned for induction, has also undergone deep sea dives off Vishakhapatnam where it was build. A Russian diving support ship —the RFS Epron that arrived on October 1 — has been accompanying the Arihant on its deep sea dives and launch tests, officials told ET.
The submarine is to be equipped with K 15 (or BO-5) shortrange missiles with a range of over 700 km and the K 4 ballistic missile with a range of 3,500 km. “It has passed all tests and in many things has surpassed our expectations.
Work is already in progress on two more Arihant class submarines at the Ship Building Center (SBC) in Vishakhapatnam which will be larger and more advanced than the first boat. The navy is also accelerating work on INS Varsha – a new strategic naval base with underground pens on the Eastern Coast near Kakinada – where the nuclear assets would be based.
The Navy’s Submarine Design Bureau is also presently working on a new class of nuclear powered attack submarines (SSNs).
The deployment would complete India’s nuclear triad, which means that it could deliver atomic weapons from land, sea and air. Only the U.S. and Russia are considered full-fledged nuclear triad powers now, with China and India’s capabilities still largely untested. India would become the sixth country to have nuclear-armed submarines in operation, after the US, UK, France, Russia and China.
INS Aridhaman is the second Arihant-class submarine. She will be the second nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine being built by India. This submarine will have double the number of missile hatches than its predecessor INS Arihant giving it the ability to carry more missiles. This will have a more powerful reactor than its predecessor. It should be commissioned in 2018. It should be launched this year for trials
SOURCES – Economic Times, Wikipedia