All you need to know about INS Arihant


India now has a submarine capable of launching nuclear weapons—the INS Arihant. Though reports suggest it has been 'secretly' inducted into service, the Indian Navy is expected to formally induct  INS Arihant—which has completed its test trials—into its fleet soon.

The sea trials lasted for months in the Bay of Bengal, where it was tested for deep sea diving and its weapons were checked. Arihant, which means 'annihilator of enemies', would go on to complete India's 'nuclear triad', after being equipped for air and land. Here's why it is important for India:

India's first SSBN
Weighing at 6,000 tonnes, and a length of 110m, Arihant is India's first ship submersible ballistic nuclear (SSBN) submarine. One of the longest in the country's fleet of submarines, it is propelled by an 83-MV pressurised light-water reactor. It can be armed with 12 short range missiles (ranging around 750km), or with four 3,500km missiles. These missiles, called submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), are dubbed K-15 and K-4 missiles respectively.

Enables India to strike second
Arihant is crucial for India's capability to strike second. India, China and North Korea had pledged a 'no-first-use' policy as part of its nuclear doctrine. It is a pact that ensures that nuclear strikes are the absolute last option to resolve conflicts (as opposed to the US, for instance, which considers a pre-emptive strike as an option). Being an SSBN, the possibility for second strike works better than launchers based on land or in air. Arihant is stealthier and larger than standard nuclear-powered submarines.

Capable of strikes from underwater
Arihant can lay underwater, undetected and unobstructed, for long periods of time, powered by the light-water reactor. From such an undetected position, it can deliver nuclear strikes in case of a nuclear threat to the country.

First among four others
The Arihant project was reportedly sanctioned in 1970, under the secretive Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) programme. Approved in 1984, its construction began in 1998. It was formally commissioned by Navy Chief Admiral Lanba in August this year. According to reports, it isn't fully ready yet, with no official word from the Army or Navy. INS Aridhaman, due in 2018, is almost nearing completion. India is set to have at least four such Arihant-class submarines by 2020.

Built indigenously by DRDO and others

Arihant-class submarines are all designed, engineered and operated indigenously. Among the agencies and private companies that are involved in its construction are Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Submarine Design Group of the Directorate of Naval Design, Department of Atomic Energy and Larsen & Toubro.

India is the sixth country
There are only six countries in the world that possess a vessel that can launch nuclear weapons and warheads from underwater: the UK, the US, Russia, France, China, and now India. Out of these, US and Russia are considered to have proper, full-fledged, high-tech nuclear triad vessels.

INS Chakra and Agni
Currently, INS Chakra operates in India. It was leased from Russia for 10 years in 2012, but does not have the capability to carry nuclear weapons. India also has ballistic missiles like Agni and fighter bombers such as Mirage 2000s.

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Topics : #Navy | #India | #defence

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