New Delhi: The secretive Indian nuclear submarine programme, referred to as the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV), may finally step out into clear sunlight at the Navy's construction docks at the Vishakhapatnam shipyard on 26 July, if reports making the rounds are to be believed. Reports suggest that the launch of the submarine will take place at the hands of Gursharan Kaur, wife of prime minister Manmohan Singh, who will smash the auspicious coconut on its hull.
A report in India Today magazine says that the nuclear submarine has been named as Arihant (destroyer of enemies).
The submarine is currently housed in a dry dock called the Shipbuilding Centre (SBC) in Visakhapatnam, which will be flooded and the submarine floated out. The submarine is then expected to commence harbour and sea trials for an extended period of time, before eventual induction in the Indian Navy.
|A Russian Project 885 Severodvinsk class submarine –likely design base for the Indian ATV project|
The harbour and sea trials are necessary to test the indigenously designed submarine's nuclear power plant, auxiliary systems as well as its weapon system. The submarine will reportedly be armed with 12 K-15 ballistic missiles. The whole process is expected to take another two to three years before final commissioning.
The launch of the indigenous ATV (Arihant!) precedes the acquisition of a leased Russian Akula II nuclear attack submarine by the Indian Navy at the end of the year.
The Akula II submarine is expected to perform a crew training role with the Indian Navy, even as the service adds three ATVs by 2015. Reports for long have suggested that the hull sections of another two ATVs have been completed at the L&T facility at Hazira, Gujarat, and will be transported to Vizag as soon as the first ATV (Arihant) exits the dry dock for sea trials.