India’s Nuclear Submarine Projects
August 21/18: India achieves nuclear triad Indian media reports that the country successfully tested its first indigenous nuclear capable Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM). The missile, built under the codename B-05, was launched from the INS Arihant. During the test three missiles were fired from the Arihant at a depth of 20m and about 10km off the Vizag coast. Developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the 10-meter long B-05 has a strike range of about 750 km and weighs ten tonne. The two-stage missile uses solid propellant and can carry a payload of about 1000 kg. The INS Arihant is capable of carrying 12 B-05 or Sagarika missiles as well as torpedoes and cruise missiles. Indian defense scientists have also been testing longer-range K-series submarine-launched strategic missiles for the past few years. The long range (3,500 kilometers) K-4 missiles have so far been tested three times successfully from underwater pontoons, but the last test from a pontoon in December 2017 failed as the missile did not activate properly during the test. India has also started working on the K-5, which has a range of 5,000 kilometers, as well as the K-6, with its range of up to 6,000 km, for nuclear-powered submarines. This successful test heaves India into a quite exclusive club of nuclear countries. India is now the 6th country that has a nuclear triad, meaning that it can fire nuclear tipped missiles, from land, sea and air.
According to GlobalSecurity.org, India’s ATV (advanced technology vessel) program to build a nuclear-powered submarine began in 1974, and became a serious effort in 1985. The Federation of American Scientists’ December 1996 document “The Indian Strategic Nuclear Submarine Project: An Open Literature Analysis” remains one of the best single open sources on India’s program. Unfortunately, it was compiled over a decade ago and has become rather dated. That project has continued, and this DID Spotlight article continues to collect open source information on the ATV program.
More and more sources were claiming that a rented Russian Akula class boat would be operational as a training vessel by 2009. The concept was correct, but the date was not. A deadly accident during K-152 Nerpa’s sea trials delayed that project, and further complications pushed its hand-over date to 2012. As efforts to move the Nerpa into service continue, India has finally launched its indigenous nuclear sub Arihant, to begin sea trials and testing.
The ATV Program: Background
Strategic Pressure: Keeping Up with the Shangs
ATV: Searching for Answers
The Arihant Class: Destroyer of Enemies
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