New Delhi: What the Government has studiously kept under wraps for well over a decade has now come out in the open with Indian Navy chief, also chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, stating that India''''s first indigenous nuclear submarine would sail by 2009. The advanced technology vessel (ATV), as the project has been referred to, along with the acquisition of a Russian Akula class submarine by the Navy would mark a major step forward in the country''''s quest for an credible undersea deterrence.
The submarine arm will now form part of the country''s nuclear triad.
Adm Mehta said that the acquisition of the Russian Akula-class nuclear submarine on long-term lease would allow India to train its personnel to operate, and also build, such vessels.
''''It is a DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) project but I can tell you that the advanced technology vessel will be ready in two years'''' time,'''' Mehta said about added.
It would appear that the ATV project has crossed a major technology hurdle, with Indian scientists succeeding in miniaturising the vessels nuclear reactor. According to defence sources, the miniaturising of the reactor is a major achievement, with very few countries in the world having such capability. Reports suggest that the reactor is now in the process of being mounted on the submarine''''s hull.
Adm Mehta, however, ruled out an early induction of the submarine version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile jointly developed by Russia and India. ''''There has been some talk of this and we have asked for a concrete plan of action which we will then consider,'''' he stated.
The navy has already deployed the BrahMos missile on some of its frontline vessels.