On 23 February, India's first nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) was announced as fully ready for operations, after having passed several deep sea diving drills as well as weapons launch tests during the past five months. Officials expect the INS Arihant to be inducted into the navy soon.
in Sanskrit means, “Slayer of Enemies”.
According to Indian sources, the Arihant is the first of five nuclear missile submarines that are planned. It conducted its deep sea dives off Vishakhapatnam where it was built. A Russian diving support ship —the RFS Epron that arrived on October 1 — has been accompanying the Arihant on its deep sea dives and launch tests.
The Indian Navy has maintained tight security over the Arihant’s progress, especially its weapons tests during the past five months. The submarine is to be equipped with K 15 (or BO-5) short range missiles with a range of over 700 km and the K 4 ballistic missile with a range of 3,500 km.
One senior official said, "It has passed all tests and in many things has surpassed our expectations. Technically the submarine can now be commissioned at any time." The commissioning date could be as early as next month, requiring only a decision by the Modi government. A communication facility for the SSBN force already has been commissioned into the Navy.
At present, work is in progress on two more Arihant-class submarines at the Ship Building Center (SBC) in Vishakhapatnam. They are planned to be larger and more advanced than the first boat. At present, the only nuclear powered submarine in Indian service is the INS Chakra, an Akula-class attack submarine (SSN) on lease from Russia.
The navy is also accelerating work on INS Varsha - a new strategic naval base with underground pens on the eastern coast near Kakinada - where the nuclear assets would be based.
The Navy's Submarine Design Bureau also is working on a new class of nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN) that it hopes to induct within the next 15 years. The plan is to build at least six SSNs in India.