BALASORE: Amid heightened tensions along the border, India successfully conducted the much awaited ejection test of an underwater missile for the first time from its home-grown nuclear powered submarine INS Arihant at an undisclosed location in the Bay of Bengal.
Defence sources claimed the test carried out on Wednesday was successful and the parameters set for the mission were met. The missile used for the test was a dummy of 750-km range undersea missile, code-named B-05. The weapon with a dummy payload was reportedly launched from the submarine in full operational configuration.
The test assumed significance as India registered its name in the elite club of a few nations which have similar capability of launching nuclear capable underwater missiles from the submarines.
Other countries which have the capability include Russia, USA, France, Britain (UK) and China.
The user associate launch was conducted by the personnel of Strategic Forces Command (SFC) in association with the DRDO. The missile was fired from 20-meter deep. The nuclear reactor on board the INS Arihant was activated in August 2013.
A defence official said after going through the power-up cycle and harbour acceptance tests for over two years the indigenously built first nuclear powered submarine of the country was ready for actual sea trials. “As part of its long awaited sea trial, the B-05 missile was fired to reconfirm the submarine’s ejection capability. The result in the first attempt was quite satisfactory,” he said.
The nuclear submarine will be inducted in the navy after two/three more such trials in next couple of years. Once inducted, it will help India complete its nuclear triad, giving it the capability to respond to nuclear strikes from sea, land and air-based systems.
Built under the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project at the ship building centre in Visakhapatnam, the 6,000 tonne Arihant (slayer of enemies) was first launched at the Navy’s dockyard in Vishakhapatnam on July 26, 2009.
The 111-metre-long, 15-meter tall and 11-metre broad INS Arihant has four vertical launch tubes, which are capable of carrying 6 torpedoes of 533 mm and 12 B-05 (K-15) missiles or 4 K-4 missiles. Having a 100-member crew, the advanced vessel is powered by an 83 MW pressurised light-water reactor with enriched uranium fuel.
So far India has only 14 conventional submarines, including four Shishumar class from Germany and ten Sindhughosh class (Kilo class) from Russia that are diesel-electric powered besides one nuclear-powered Akula class submarine INS Chakra taken on a 10-year lease from Russia.
On the other hand, tested several times earlier, the B-05 missile is ready for induction. Launched underwater, it surges to the surface and is the world's best weapon in this class. The DRDO has begun its production. After its induction, INS Arihant will be equipped with the missile and its longer version K-4 underwater missile.
A defence expert said there should not be any delay in making Arihant operational. As the conventional subs are aging, India needs to keep its own submarines ready, he added.