NEW DELHI: The country’s first indigenously developed nuclear submarine INS Arihant, which has successfully completed its sea trials held so far, is expected to launch its maiden missile firing test this month.
According to sources in the Defence Ministry, the missile test from the nuclear-powered submarine is aimed at paving the path for handing over it to the Indian Navy during the International Fleet Review, scheduled to be held in Visakhapatnam in February next year.
“Firing of Nirbhay missile from the submarine will be followed by firing of another type of missile. So far, all trials and tests have been held successfully from the nuclear submarine,” official sources claimed.
While Nirbhay is a long range subsonic cruise missile with a strike range of over 1,000 km, the next missile would be India’s first Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile, which has a range of about 700 km. More rounds of tests would follow.
India plans to build at least two more Arihant-class submarines. It had started building Arihant in the 1990s under its Advanced Technology Vessel programme. Though Arihant was initially supposed to be a fast-attack submarine, the project was realigned to make it a ballistic missile submarine, following the nuclear test conducted by India in 1998.
India is the sixth nation in the world to have the capability to design and construct a nuclear submarine. The Navy has been operating diesel-electric submarines, which have to surface to charge their batteries. Arihant will help provide additional capability to stay in the high seas for longer durations.
More rounds to Follow
Arihant, powered by 80 MW pressurised water reactor with enriched uranium fuel, was launched symbolically into water on July 26, 2009. Since then, Arihant went through extensive tests, including harbour acceptance trials, with the onboard reactor going critical in 2013. It left the harbour for sea trials in December last year.