Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 30
India on Thursday said it was ‘extremely satisfied’ with the progress of the ongoing sea trials of the indigenous nuclear attack submarine INS Arihant.
Indian Navy Chief Admiral RK Dhowan said: “We are extremely satisfied. The project is progressing very well”. He was speaking to the media on the sidelines of a naval aviation seminar.
On being asked if the project was facing any hurdles and whether there could be a definite date for the 6,000-tonne submarine to go on a ‘deterrence patrol’, the Admiral said: “There is no problem with the project. Trials of the Arihant are currently underway, but I cannot give a timeline and say what happens thereafter.”
A nuclear submarine is militarily considered to be one of the most potent second-strike platforms for retaliation to a nuclear strike. India has a no-first-use nuclear policy and a submarine of deterrence patrol can retaliate within seconds while remaining under sea.
During Cold War, the US and USSR kept their submarines on deterrence patrols — ready to fire within seconds of a nuclear strike by the adversary. Unlike conventional vessels, a nuclear-powered submarine does not need to surface for up to nearly two months in contrast to conventional submarines.
Sea trials of the Arihant started in December last year and are expected to last a few more months. The sea trials will eventually include diving trials, followed by undersea firing of nuclear-tipped missiles. The vessel, powered by an 83 Mwe pressurised water reactor, is slated for induction by 2016. Its reactor was developed by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, with assistance from a Russian design team. It uses enriched uranium as fuel and light water as coolant and moderator. The submarine has nearly 60 per cent local content.
Once inducted, it will complete the nuclear triad, which means attaining the capability to fire nuclear missiles from land, air and sea.
On building a second seaborne aircraft carrier, Admiral Dhowan said: “We have done an approach paper on the type of carrier, its propulsion and the aircraft it will carry. The case will be taken up with the Ministry of Defence and thereafter a detailed project report will be prepared.”
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