Saturday, December 10, 2011
Sea trials soon of India's indigenous n-submarine
The sea trials of India's indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant are scheduled in a few months from now and it is likely to be inducted into the navy by the end of 2012, when it will lurk in the deep seas awaiting its prey.
Indian Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said at the force's annual press conference Friday ahead of Navy Day on Dec 4 that the process of readying the nuclear-powered submarine was "on track".
"By and large we are on track. A firm date can be given when we go for sea trials that will hopefully happen in a few months from now," Verma said when he was asked about his last Navy Day promise that INS Arihant will go out on high seas patrols by 2012-end.
India had launched the 6,000-tonne submarine into the waters at Visakhapatnam Naval Dockyard on July 26 in 2009. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur were present on the occassion.
INS Arihant has been built under the navy's advanced technology vessel (ATV) programme at a cost of $2.9 billion. The vessel is critical for India possessing the capability to launch nuclear weapons from an underwater platform.
With India's declared "no first use" policy on nuclear weapons, the country's weapons system must survive a first strike for retaliation. To that effect, INS Arihant's primary weapon is stealth as it will be able to lurk in ocean depths of half a kilometre or more and fire missiles from under the sea.
The submarine is powered by an 85 MW nuclear reactor and can acquire surface speeds of 22 to 28 kmph or 12 to 15 knots, apart from a submerged speed of 44 kmph or 24 knots.
With a crew of 95, it will be armed with torpedoes and missiles including 12 ballistic missiles. Four more nuclear-powered submarines of this class have already got government's nod, adding to navy's underwater combat potential in the years to come.
On the safety of the nuclear submarine, the navy chief said there was a requirement of a regulatory authority and Baba Atomic Research Centre will play a major role in this.
He said the issue was not about nuclear safety while the vessel is at port but while it is at sea and hence the modalities for that and basing of specialist on board the vessel are under consideration.