India has to wait for a couple of months more to witness the much-awaited first ever sea trial of indigenously built nuclear powered submarine INS Arihant fitted with ballistic missile K-15.
Earlier scheduled to be test fired from Arihant, the submarine-launched ballistic missile K-15 is being readied to be launched from a pontoon (replica of a submarine) off the Vizag coast later this month.
Defence sources said the Arihant-class lead submarine, launched on July 26, 2009 from the Navy’s dockyard at Vishakhapatnam base, is yet to start its sea trials. The submarine is a part of the country’s Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) programme. India is the fifth country to have this kind of technology after the US, Russia, France and China.
Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and DRDO Chief V K Saraswat said this time the test of K-15 would be from the pontoon which has been positioned at a location off the Andhra Pradesh coast. “But the test planned next year will be definitely from Arihant-class submarine. The platform is being readied at the shipyard for the maiden trial,” he told ‘The New Indian Express’.
Initially announced to be ready for induction by end of this year, the submarine is now expected to be inducted in the Navy by 2014 because it has to complete at least two or three trials before deployment. India has plans to build four more submarines of this class.
“The new generation nuke powered submarines will help India become a credible nuclear deterrent. Once inducted, the country will achieve its goal of possessing the nuclear triad of having three nuclear arms platforms – land, air and undersea,” said a scientist.
INS Arihant is about 120 meter long and its displacement is upto 7,000 tons. It can be armed with 12 vertically launched missiles like K-15 and 533-mm torpedos at a time. The submarine will be powered by 85-MW nuclear reactor. It has a surface speeds of 22 to 28 kmph or 12 to 15 knots, apart from a submerged speed of 44 kmph or 24 knots.
The indigenously developed K-15 missile is about 10 metres in length and about one metre in diameter. Its launch weight is about ten tonnes. This missile uses solid propellant and can carry a conventional payload of about 500 kg to one tone and also be fitted with tactical nuclear warhead.
With a strike range of about 700-km, the K-15 is one of the most ambitious projects of the DRDO. After its successful induction next year, the DRDO would go for the developmental trials of its longer-range K-4 missile, which can hit the target 3000-km away, to strengthen its undersea attacks.