India’s first nuclear-armed submarine INS Arihant (SSBN) is now ready for full-fledged operations after completing various sea trials and tests. This has propelled India to become the world’s sixth country after the US, Russia, France, the UK and China to ingenuously Design, Develop and Build a ballistic missile submarines (SSBN). The SSBN has now enabled India to have a nuclear triad – The ability to launch nuclear missiles from Air , Surface and Sea.
INS Arihant is truly a “Pearl of India”
INS Arihant has four vertical launch tubes and will be capable of carrying all types of missiles and will have underwater ballistic missile launch capability. It will carry 12 K-15 SLBMs initially and later will be replaced later by the 3,500km range K-X missiles. Apart from the K-15s, the submarine will carry a range of anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles and torpedoes including the far more lethal K-4 which has a longer range of 3,500 km.
Both the public and the private sector of Indian Industries have contributed to the successful launch of the vessel. It is an amazing feat considering the technical complexity of the design and operation of such submarines. The Russian government has been of great help in this project as a consultant. Apart from this , India already has a nuclear submarine INS Chakra , on a lease from Russia.
Quoting a DNA report in 2009 “India’s private sector helped out the $2.9-billion project in significant ways. The hull of INS Arihant was built by L&T‘s Hazira shipbuilding facility, Tata Power built the control systems for the SSBN, while the systems for the steam turbine integrated with the reactor are supplied by Walchandnagar Industries.”
INS Arihant is fitted with a combination of two sonar systems – Ushus and Panchendriya, both of which are designed, developed and made in India. The submarine will be powered by an 83-MW uranium reactor, developed by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) with help from Russia.