INS Arihant, India's first indigenously designed and built nuclear-powered submarine, on Monday started its sea trials, about 15 months after the vessel was launched in August 2013.
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar flagged off the nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed submarine from its Vizag base for sea trials on Monday, in a boost to indigenisation of defence manufacturing.
INS Arihant (meaning slayer of enemies), the lead vessel of the class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines being built for the Indian Navy, is one of the four such vessels that are being built at Hindustan Shipyard Ltd, Visakhapatnam and are expected to be commissioned by 2023.
Arihant, which is based on Russia's Akula-1 class of submarines, is being developed under the $2.9 billion Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project to design and build nuclear-powered submarines. INS Arihant is the first ballistic missile submarine to have been built by a country other than one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
Arihant's sea trial will include the firing of the indigenous Bo5 missile that has a 700-km range and can carry a one tonne nuclear warhead. It can carry 12 such missiles.
The nuclear submarine will add to India's strike capability by allowing the submarine to remain under water for long durations without the need to surface the vessel at regular intervals as in the case of the conventional diesel-electric submarines.
INS Arihant is longer than any of the submarine in the Indian Navy's fleet so far and has twice the speed of its conventional counterparts.
The INS Arihant's miniaturised nuclear reactor is used to drive a steam turbine to generate 83 MW of power. The reactor, built with Russian help, had gone critical last year and the vessel has been going through a series of harbour trials since then at Visakhapatnam, where it is being built.
Once the trials are through and the submarine enters service, India will not only complete its nuclear triad of delivering nuclear weapons from land, sea and air, but also join an elite club of six nations that operate nuclear submarines carrying ballistic missiles. The US, Russia, France, Britain and China are the other nations with this capability.
INS Arihant is longer than any of the submarine in the Indian Navy`s fleet so far. A nuclear submarine is powered by a nuclear reactor, which generates tremendous heat driving a steam turbine. It has unlimited underwater endurance and speed, which is twice that of its conventional counterparts.
The INS Arihant's miniaturised nuclear reactor, that is used to drive a steam turbine, generates 83 MW of power. The reactor, built with Russian help, had gone critical last year and the vessel has been going through a series of harbour trials since then at Visakhapatnam, where it is being built.