manufacturing technology, India’s first nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed submarine
‘INS Arihant’ will head out for sea trials by the year-end.
“INS Arihant’ will be ready for sea trials by the end of this year,” an
official aware of the developments relating to the 6,000-tonne submarine
said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
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.
The INS Arihant’s miniaturised nuclear 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
The submarine has also been going through the power-up cycle of its
nuclear reactor and has now achieved a nearly 100 per cent power level,
the official said.
“Its reactor had gone critical last year. We are now close to attaining
100 per cent its power,” the official said, adding: “The nuclear
reaction is highly controlled. It is something similar to nuclear power
plants, but extra caution is needed. The reactor is now functioning
perfectly well,” the official said.
Once the submarine attains 100 per cent power, it will head out to sea
for its final trials, which will include the firing of the indigenous
Bo5 missile that has a 700-km range and can carry a one tonne nuclear
warhead. INS Arihant can carry 12 such missiles. The vessel, the lead
ship of the Arihant-class submarines, was launched in 2009. Its design
is based on the Russian Akula-1 class submarines and its 83MW
pressurised heavy water reactor has been built with significant Russian
While its 100-member crew has been trained by Russian specialists,
Indian scientists at Mumbai’s Bhabha Atomic Research Centre have
received significant expertise in reducing the size of the reactor to
help it fit into the 10 metre diameter hull of the submarine.
The Indian Navy currently operates the INS Chakra nuclear-powered submarine leased for 10 years from Russia in 2012.