Saturday, March 17, 2012

India to build two more nuclear powered submarines

As the induction of the first locally built Indian nuclear powered submarine, INS Arihant is almost complete, the Indian government has decided to build two more of its type.

INS Arihant, which is the first nuclear powered submarine of the Arihant class submarine genus, was fully developed by the Indian agency Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It is expected to complete its marine trials by early next year. The Indian Navy’s capabilities are already boosted significantly, after they recently inducted the Russian built INS Chakra in to its fold. However defence sources were sceptical whether the Indian Navy was technically advanced enough to operate two additional nuclear submarines without overstretching the resources.

Nuclear powered submarines are extremely difficult to detect through normal ship based sonars and other equipment. They can remain under water for as many as 100 days continuously, and they hardly emit any sound waves which can be detected by the enemy warships.

The news from India is significant, as many of their neighbours are also trying to build nuclear powered submarines. Defence experts believe that China is trying to develop its first fully indigenous version of the nuclear powered submarine, which is expected to be completed soon. It is already operating a number of nuclear submarines like Type 091 (Han) and Type 092 (Xia), but they are not fully nuclear powered.

The development of INS Arihant took many years and required a lot of effort from the Indian defence scientists. The first concrete steps were taken during 1998, when George Fernandes, the then defence minister gave his approval for the project. The project was officially launched in July 2009, by the Indian Prime Minister, Man Mohan Singh.

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