India's first 'indigenous' nuclear-powered attack submarine, INS Arihant, should be ready for deterrence patrols from 2015, according to the state-run Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).
''It will take two-three more trials for the completion of the Agni-V (nuclear-capable) development trials. These trials are expected be completed within a year. We are going to do the trials from canisters this year. After a few trials, it will be ready for induction,'' DRDO director-general Avinash Chander said at a press conference on the side of Delhi's DefExpo-2014.
The three-stage solid propellant missile was tested successfully twice from a mobile launcher off the Odisha coast in the last two years, and preparations are on to fit it onto the Arihant (See:India successfully tests n-capable Agni-V for second time).
The 17-metre-long and 2-metre-wide missile has a launch weight of around 50 tonnes and is the most advanced version, with new features incorporated with it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine.
On Arihant, Chander said it would begin sea trials in the next ''one or two months'' and its harbour acceptance trials are over. The 700-km 'BO-5' SLBM would be fired from it during the sea trials, he added.
He said BO-5 development trials were completed in January 2013, all of them under-water tests, and hence its next tests would be done with the indigenous nuclear submarine before its full integration on to the vessel.
Chander, said the nuclear-tipped missiles were ready for installation and their integration would begin after some of the scheduled sea trials are over.
The submarine is in its home port of Visakhapatnam now but should set course for the sea within a few weeks - by March - once its reactor achieves full power in the step-by-step process.
"All weapons are ready. INS Arihant is going through the steps of induction, and we are slowly raising the power to 100 per cent. After that, it will be ready to go to the sea. The process is a fairly elaborate exercise which will take several months. Once Arihant is in the sea, there has to be a trial phase of six to eight months," Chander said.
Chander, who apart from heading the DRDO is also the scientific adviser to the defence minister, observed that extreme care is needed in fully activating a new submarine's reactor to establish total safety parameters. "It is the first baby we are nurturing," he said.
''It will be a careful, step-by-step operation, and as soon as we are comfortable with the step-by-step established parameters, the submarine would set course for the sea for designated and pre-determined further trials," Chander said.