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Thursday, February 25, 2010

First nuke-sub undergoes trial

India’s first nuclear submarine, ‘INS Arihant’, has gone to the high-seas for an extended trial, indicating that the boomer is on course to be inducted by the Navy by 2011.

One of India’s top secret defence projects for over three decades, ‘INS Arihant’ with a 80 Mwe nuclear reactor at its core, was launched in the water in last July. The sea trial, which began a few months ago, will be carried out for more than a year in different conditions to test the endurance and performance of the nuclear submarine, which is capable of staying under water for months, sources told Deccan Herald.

Once inducted, ‘INS Arihant’ will be the third leg of the nuclear triad enabling India to have retaliatory second strike capability from the sea. At the defence research and development organisation’s annual awards function attended by Defence Minister A K Antony, DRDO chief V K Saraswat mentioned ‘INS Arihant’ as a significant technology achievement.
For obvious reasons Saraswat did not mention anything about the two other nuclear submarines, which DRDO is constructing at the moment.
The hull of the second boomer is under construction at an L&T facility in Gujarat. The Visakhapatnam shipyard was recently brought under the defence ministry to secretly carry out the construction activities.

Saraswat listed out developing Agni-5 with a range of 5,000 km, unmanned combat aerial vehicle, indigenous airborne early warning and control system and automatic under-ground and under-water vehicles as some of the key future challenges. Antony asked the DRDO to reduce long gestation period and cut down on time and cost overrun. “It is high time that DRDO shed its reticence in working in tandem with the private industry. We need the maximum possible synergy between various production agencies,” he added.