Fully armed Arihant to hit the sea in a month

Fully armed Arihant to hit the sea in a month

India’s nuclear-powered submarine Arihant that seeks to be a “stabilising factor” in the strategically important Indian Ocean will be out at sea within a month.

“The Arihant is slated to go to the sea within a month for completion of sea trials as the harbour trials are almost complete. Firing of the ballistic missile will be a part of the sea trial,” Rear Admiral L V S Babu, assistant chief of naval staff (submarine), said here on Tuesday.

The indigenous SSBN was released to water in July 2009, in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh within a closely guarded military dockyard in Visakhapatnam where it underwent extensive harbour acceptance trials in the last three and a half years leading to operationalisation of on-board nuclear reactor in August 2013.

“Sea trial will be an enhanced mode testing of all parameters. The missile will be fired during the trials. We have developed the capability to include the ballistic missile on-board Arihant, but will continue to improve the power and punch of the submarine,” he said.

The Navy hopes to induct the Arihant by the end of 2014, though a lot depend on the trial results. Since this is the first time a mobile nuclear reactor was given regulatory approval by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, extra caution is being maintained by the Navy, Defence Research and Development Organisation and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.

On August 10, the 80 MWe nuclear reactor on-board the submarine began producing nuclear energy to propel the 104 mt long and 6,000 tonne submarine. When inducted, it will complete India’s nuclear triad giving New Delhi second strike capability from land, air and sea in case of a nuclear attack.

More on the anvil

The Navy wanted to build more than one SSBN as scientists and engineers have developed capability to design and manufacture an indigenous SSBN with support from Russia. “We would like to have more submarines, but there is no government approval,” he said.

“The maritime security dynamics in the Indian Ocean region and our extended neighbourhood would dictate our overall plans to augment the Navy’s nuclear submarine fleet,” said Babu, one of the senior most submariners in the Navy.

A mock-up of Arihant would be on display in the Republic Day parade here as part of the Naval tableaux, in which the Navy would showcase maritime security through self reliance.

Asked about the salvation of the INS Sidhurakshak, which exploded and sank off the Mumbai coast last August, he said the Navy has finalised the vendor for the salvation work and are waiting for approvals from the competent authority.

The Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Finance need to approve the agreement reached between the Navy and the foreign salver.

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