India’s first domestically-constructed nuclear submarine INS Arihant is all set to undergo sea trials, the country’s navy chief admiral Nirmal Verma has said.
Speaking to reporters, Verma was quoted by Agence France Presse as saying: "Arihant is steadily progressing towards operationalisation and we hope to commence sea trials in the coming months."
"Our maritime and nuclear doctrine will then be aligned to ensure that our nuclear insurance comes from the sea."
The 6,000t Arihant was launched in July 2009 at the Matsya naval dockyard in Vishakapatnam, India.
In order to be equipped with torpedoes and missiles, the nuclear submarine is powered by an 85MW capacity nuclear reactor and can acquire surface speeds of up to 15knots and total submerged speeds 24knots when carrying a crew of 95.
The navy’s nuclear submarine’s induction into service was delayed due to an additional two years of test trials before being declared fully operational.
According to Verma, the navy together and the Defence Research and Development Organisation have been conducting further analysis to validate the new technology prior to developing doctrines and procedures for the induction of Arihant.
The Indian Government has plans to acquire additional nuclear-powered submarine of the same class, which would add to the navy’s underwater combat capabilities.
In April 2012, the navy had officially commissioned the Russian-leased Akula II-class K-152 Nerpa nuclear-powered attack submarine, the INS Chakra, into service. This made India the sixth country to operate nuclear submarines along with the US, UK, France, China and Russia.
The navy expects to receive the first of six Scorpene submarines in 2015 and the final vessel by 2018.