Boost for Navy as Arihant gears up for arms trial

Indigenous submarine will complete India's nuclear triad

Boost for Navy as Arihant gears up for arms trial

The INS Arihant, indigenous nuclear powered submarine, is all set to start the sea trial of its submarine launched ballistic missile, which will complete India’s nuclear triad or second strike capability from land, air and sea.

“Weapon trials of Arihant will take place either in the last quarter of this year or in the beginning of next year,” Avinash Chander, Director-General of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and scientific adviser to the defence minister, said here.

Known as B05  (as well as K-15), the submarine launched ballistic missile is the main weapon for India’s first SSBN. It was tested successfully from an under-water pontoon off Visakhapatnam in January showcasing the missile’s ability to break waters.

“It is now fully ready for integration with the submarine,” the DRDO chief said, while refusing to disclose the range of the missile, which in its final version would be capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Last month, the 80 MWe nuclear reactor on-board Arihant went critical producing fission energy to propel the 104 metre long and 6,000-tonne submarine. The Navy is tight lipped on when Arihant would undertake its sea trial. It may be inducted by 2015.

After years of joint research and development by India and Israel on the Rs 2,600-crore long range surface-to-air missile (LR-SAM) project, one of the naval warships has now been fitted with the launcher to test the new missile, which would be one of the mainstay weapons for Indian warships.

Parallel work is going on to arm the indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant with the LR-SAM, which will be one of the key components of the carrier’s protective suite.

Asked about future tests of 5,000-km range Agni V missile, Chander said at least three to four additional successful flight tests was needed before the missile is inducted into the service.

The next launch of Agni V will be from a “canister” that reduces reaction time for missile launch. At present, only the under-water missile and cruise missile Brahmos are launched from canisters.

Chandra said Agni V had an accuracy in the range of 100 metres but scientists were working to improve the accuracy of long range missile within 10-15 metres. This means, even if the missile is fired from a distance of 2000-3000 km, it should hit within 15 metres of the target.

He said the DRDO was capable of developing missiles with 10,000-km range if there was a need. But there is no Agni VI programme at the moment.

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