NEW DELHI: After repeated delays, the country’s first home-made nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant on Monday came out on sea trials in the Bay of Bengal.
In August last year, INS Arihant’s nuclear reactor had attained “critical” and since then, it was going through extensive activities towards attaining full power at Visakhapatnam harbour. Though, officially, neither the Navy nor the DRDO has confirmed the development, sources have told that the submarine came out from Vishakhapatnam harbours for couple hours, into the sea of Bay of Bengal.
Incidentally, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was also in the Eastern Naval Command in Vizag.
At present the US, Russia, the UK, France and China have nuclear-powered submarine, armed with long range nuclear missiles. India has become the sixth nation to have the capability to design and construct a nuclear submarine, and the only country in the Indian Ocean region to have a nuclear submarine. The Navy has been operating conventional diesel-electric submarines, which have to surface to charge their batteries. And, INS Arihant will help provide additional capability to continue into high sea for long duration.
INS Arihant, powered by 80 MW pressurised water reactor with enriched uranium fuel, was launched symbolically into water in 26 July 2009, by then PM Manmohan Singh’s wife Gursharan Kaur. “The submarine will take at least a year of extensive sea trials before commissioning into the Navy,” said an official, privy to the developments.