Arihant-class SSBN - News & Discussions

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Official confirmation of INS Arihant induction in 2016?

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Eye on China: India steps up naval deployments, kicks off nuclear submarine project

The great game in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), where both India and China are jostling for the same strategic space, is unfolding at a rapid clip.

Around the time a Chinese nuclear submarine is expected to cross over into the IOR early next year, in keeping with past deployments, India would be kicking off major military exercises to project power and hone combat capabilities on the high seas.

Concurrently, India is also fast-tracking plans to eventually induct six nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs), four nuclear-powered submarines with ballistic missiles (SSBNs) and 18 diesel-electric submarines.

At present, the Navy has only 13 old conventional submarines, one indigenous SSBN in INS Arihant, which was commissioned last year, and a SSN in INS Chakra leased from Russia, which does not have nuclear-tipped missiles due to international treaties.

But INS Aridhaman, the second of four indigenous SSBNs being constructed at Vishakhapatnam for over Rs 90,000 crore, is slated for induction next year. Moreover, India has also launched the over Rs 60,000-crore plan to construct six indigenous SSNs, which was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security in early-2015, as was first reported by TOI.

"It (the SSN project) has kicked off. It is a classified project. The process has started. I will leave it at that," said Admiral Sunil Lanba on Friday, speaking ahead of the Navy Day on December 4.

The Navy chief was more forthcoming on the new operational plans and stepped-up presence in the IOR, even as the Modi government has signalled its intent to join the revived quadrilateral with US, Japan and Australia. The Quad's aim to ensure "a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region" will be an effective counter to China's expansionist and unilateralist behaviour as well as its Belt and Road Initiative.

Navy has launched its new "mission-based deployments" from the Persian Gulf to Malacca Strait, with warships on round-the-clock patrols for any operational eventuality. "Regular deployment of warships and aircraft is being maintained in North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf, the Andaman Sea and the approaches to the strategically important straits of Malacca, Lombok and Sunda. In short, our ships and aircraft are deployed from the Gulf of Aden to the Western Pacific on an almost 24x7 basis," said Admiral Lanba.

The force will also hold its massive "Tropex" (theatre-level operational readiness exercise) on both the western and eastern seaboards, one after the other, for the first time early next year. "The continued presence of both traditional and non-traditional threats in the maritime domain demand constant attention and robust mitigating measures," he said.

The Navy chief was quite dismissive of China's claim of deploying submarines in the IOR for anti-piracy patrols, in the backdrop of his force having tracked at least three nuclear and four conventional vessels since December 2013, as was earlier reported by TOI.

"It's rather odd for submarines to be deployed for anti-piracy patrols. We have carried out the threat assessments from the PLAN (People's Liberation Army-Navy) submarines," said Admiral Lanba

On the Chinese presence in the Gwadar port in Pakistan, the Navy chief said it may pose "a security challenge" for India in the future. "The port is a commercial hub. But if Chinese warships come there, we will have to look at ways to mitigate," he said. China, of course, has already opened its first off-shore military base in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa as part of its expanding presence in the IOR.

Eye on China: India steps up naval deployments, kicks off nuclear submarine project - Times of India
 
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Himanshu

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INS Arihant S2 (Arihant class) operational, 4 silos and 6 torpedo tubes

INS Aridhaman S3 operational but no public info due to secrecy, 8 silos and 6 torpedo tubes

INS unnamed S4 final assembling to start soon after INS Aridhaman moves out, 8 silos and 6 torpedo tubes

INS unnamed S4* (it is a different class bridging between S4 and S5 ) with 12 silos and 6 torpedo tubes , development under advance stage , though production of modules yet to begin due to shipyard limitations to handle upto 20000 tonnes sub fabrication , they need to be upgraded . some reports claims it has 24 silos but my info is different

INS unnamed S5 (it is a totally different class much akin to USN Ohio class) with 24 silos and 6 torpedo tubes , under development
 
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RATHORE

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Some sources predict that China will have twice as many submarines as the US by 2030 (80-100 as compared to 40-50). I hope India keeps these figures in mind, and expands its submarine fleet and naval helicopter fleets accordingly. Especially if India harbors ambitions of completely dominating the IOR and also expanding out to the SCS Region.
 

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A peek into India's top secret and costliest defence project, nuclear submarines

India's indigenous nuclear submarine project hums in top gear with the launch of its second ballistic missile submarine. But other projects face huge technical challenges.
Sandeep Unnithan

December 7, 2017 | UPDATED 14:49 IST





India's top secret nuclear submarine project reached another decadal milestone last month with the launch of a second ballistic missile submarine, the Arighat . On November 19, Union defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman cracked the auspicious coconut on the fin of the submarine in the drydock of the Ship Building Centre (SBC) in Visakhapatnam in a low-key ceremony. Following this, the SBC's drydock was flooded and the submarine quietly floated out. It will be at least another three years before the navy commissions the Arihant.

The event skipped the high-profile public ceremony of the Arihant's launch in 2009 even as the four-decade Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project to field a series of ballistic missile firing nuclear submarines is now moving at a furious assembly-line pace.

Two new units, the S4 and S4 'star', displacing over 1,000 tonnes more than the Arihant class will move into the SBC drydock vacated by the two Arihant class submarines. These submarines, fitted with eight ballistic missiles or twice the Arihant's missile load, will be launched by 2020 and 2022. An official says the Arighat launch has more to do with creating more work space within the cramped SBC for assembling the S4 and S4*. The ATV project is India's costliest defence project. The programme to build four SSBNs (hull classification symbol for a nuclear-powered, ballistic missile-carrying submarine) is India's largest defence programme, estimated at Rs 90,000 crore. Each of these nuclear-powered sharks costs upwards of Rs 4,000 crore, not counting the infrastructure created by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) to build their nuclear powered reactors and the Defence Research and Development Organisation's (DRDO) submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).


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The project's pan-India spread-headquartered in New Delhi, hull fabrication facility in Gujarat, missile development in Hyderabad, nuclear reactor in Tamil Nadu and final assembly in Visakhapatnam-is the biggest Make in India industrial ecosystem-nearly 60 per cent of the submarine's components are indigenous. It is also the cornerstone of Indo-Russian strategic cooperation; top officials admit the project would not have been possible without extensive Russian design and technical assistance. Ahead of the submarine arm's golden jubilee on December 8, the ATV programme has nearly doubled in size with a Rs 60,000 crore project to build six indigenous nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs).
"It has kicked off, " navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba told the media about the SSN project on December 1. "It is a classified project? the process has started." Design work for the indigenous SSNs displacing around 6,000 tonnes is under way at a newly constructed submarine design centre in Gurgaon. SSNs are armed with conventional cruise missiles and torpedoes but powered by nuclear reactors which give it excellent underwater speed and endurance.

The navy has opened up talks for the lease of another Akula-class submarine from Russia for over $2 billion, to replace the existing INS Chakra when it is returned in 2022 after the end of its lease. (The Chakra is currently non-operational after an incident last August). Meanwhile, final design work is under way on a new series of 13,500-tonne ballistic missile submarines. Called the 'S-5', it will be twice the weight of the Arihant class SSBNs and armed with 12 nuclear-tipped missiles. Earlier this year, the DRDO flagged off its K-6 SLBM project, a missile with an ICBM-like range of 6,000 km. The first phase of Project Varsha, a nuclear submarine base, will be completed by 2022. The base will house India's SSBN fleet in concrete pens blasted out of the hills at Rambilli 50 km south of Visakhapatnam, reportedly at a cost of Rs 30,000 .

THE THIRD LEG OF THE TRIAD
A nuclear engine allows a submarine to travel almost indefinitely underwater. They don't have to surface to recharge their batteries like conventional diesel-electric submarines (SSKs) and they move faster underwater because they avoid surface wave resistance.
The Arighat, like the Arihant, is a ballistic missile submarine or a boomer because it carries nuclear-tipped missiles and forms the third leg of a triad of air, land and sea-based nuclear weapon carrying platforms, enunciated in India's draft nuclear doctrine after the May 1998 Pokharan-2 nuclear tests. When India observes the 20th anniversary of the tests five months from now, it will have a modest sea-based deterrent with one SSBN in service and a second soon to join it.

"The triad becomes effective when you have a submarine operational at all times. In our case, a triad is operational only part of the time-when the Arihant sails out to sea," says strategic analyst Bharat Karnad. When an Indian SSBN sails out of Visakhapatnam and into the Bay of Bengal, it can virtually disappear for months, remaining underwater, its endurance limited only by the endurance of its crew, communicating only through extremely low frequency (ELF) antennae which it trails in the water. While bombers, mobile missile launchers, missile trains and ground-based launchers can be tracked, nuclear submarines are virtually undetectable. This is what makes them the most precious asset of the nuclear triad.
Submarines thus become an important component of India's 'no first use' policy for nuclear weapons because they act as guarantors of 'assured retaliation' or a second-strike, preventing any surprise first-strike by a nuclear-armed adversary. They are vital at a time when China's PLA Rocket Forces can target any point on the Indian mainland with nuclear tipped missiles and India has fewer retaliatory options.

The Arihant has so far been equipped with 12 B-05 SLBMs which have a range of 750 km-which means a distant transit to an adversary's shores. A 3,500-km range missile, the 'K-4' is still in trials-the DRDO is to conduct a fourth test of the missile sometime in December, from a specially designed submersible pontoon launcher in the Bay of Bengal. Final tests of the K-4 from the Arihant are due in the Bay of Bengal in the near future. These are to be followed by tests of a K-5 missile, a 5,000-km SLBM, a project started in 2015. The 'K series' missiles are all named after former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. The K-4 and K-5, each of which can carry a two-tonne warhead will give the triad a longer, more robust leg.
Information about the ATV project is meagre. It operates directly under the supervision of national security advisor Ajit Doval and is now wrapped in deep levels of secrecy. A navy proposal for a high-profile launch of the Arighat where the PM and cabinet ministers would be present was overruled by the PMO. Security around the project is the heaviest for any publicly known military facility (the navy recently cited security concerns to acquire a public road passing near the SBC in Visakhapatnam).

Naval top brass are chary of even discussing the project either in public or in private. "That (the ATV) is a classified project... I'm not going to take any questions on that," navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba told the media a press conference on December 1, a marked departure from a predecessor who claimed, rather disingenously in 2010, of the INS Arihant undertaking 'a deterrent patrol by 2012'. The Arihant was inducted into service in August last year after weapon trials but continues to undertake extensive trials but without a prolonged sea deployment. An actual deterrent patrol-where a nuclear-missile armed submarine goes into its operational area armed with nuclear warheads-is thought to be further away.

The launch of the Arighat comes amidst fast-changing geopolitical developments. The Chinese navy has deployed and initiated the fastest submarine expansion of any navy since the end of the Cold War with an operational undersea force of 63 vessels-5 SSNs, 4 SSBNs and 54 SSKs.
It recently sold a class of eight conventionally powered diesel-electric submarines to Pakistan, at least some of which are likely to be fitted with nuclear-tipped missiles.

"Sea-based deterrents are going to become more important as time passes, especially for a country with a no-first use policy," says strategic analyst Rear Admiral Raja Menon (retired). "The location of your nuclear weapons becomes known and even a half per cent knowledge of your existing weapon sites each year could add up to something substantial over the years, thus degrading your deterrent."

THE HUNTER-KILLERS
A solitary two-month patrol by a Chinese submarine in late 2013 came as a rude wake-up call for India's security establishment. Chinas most advanced SSN, a Shang class, sailed out from its bastion in Hainan island on December 13, 2013 and returned after a two-month 'anti-piracy' patrol in the Indian Ocean, on February 12, 2014. R&AW assessments termed the deployment 'seriously aggravated India's security concerns'. The ATV headquarters soon dusted out plans for building a series of six indigenous SSNs, shelved by the government over a decade ago due to budgetary constraints. Plans called for a series of submarines capable of speeds of over 25 knots and diving to 500 metres.

SSNs are like multi-role fighter jets, ferocious underwater predators. The navy's INS Chakra, for instance, can run underwater at speeds of close to 30 knots, more than twice the speed of conventional diesel-electric submarines, stalk and hunt warships and attack shore targets.
But like fighter jets, their performance lies in their propulsion plant, in this case a high output nuclear reactor which can cope with the tremendous bursts of sustained speed without degrading reactor output. And this is where the Indian Navy and BARC are said to be staring at a technological abyss. An 83 MW SSBN reactor like that of the Arihant, is essentially meant for slow, steady operation, using it onboard an SSN would call for more frequent refuelling cycles.

One solution believed to be under contemplation is for BARC to design a twin-reactor configuration for the SSN to meet its increased power demands. Another solution currently being explored would be to get foreign design assistance and leapfrog from India's second generation reactor technology to fourth gen.

DREAMS OF A BEHEMOTH
The ATV headquarters building in New Delhi's cantonment area has a rather unusual name: 'Akanksha' or desire. Since its start in the 1970s, the nuclear submarine project has been a dream-never constrained by finance, only by technology.


BARC's prototype 83 MW light water reactor at Kalpakkam, the S-1, used to train nuclear submariners.

There's a reason for the modest size of the Arihant class submarines and why they are called 'baby boomers'. When the Pokharan-2 nuclear tests announced India's entry as a nuclear weapons power, the Arihant class were meant to be SSNs. Post the tests, they were converted into SSBNs-DRDO inserted a plug with four short-ranged ballistic missiles. The design got another tweak a decade ago after an intervention from then finance minister P. Chidambaram who was on the political committee which monitors the classified programme. The minister questioned the billions being spent on a boat launching just four nuclear tipped missiles. The ATV project team came back with an 'Arihant-stretch'-an additional 10-metre-long plug for four K-4 SLBMs to be integrated into the S-4, then on the design board. The plug would increase the weight of the submarine by nearly 1,000 tonnes without significantly altering its performance. An additional unit, the S-4* was sanctioned in 2012 when it became clear that the S-5 would take a longer development cycle and would result in the ATV line being idle.

Plans for building a new series of strategic nuclear submarines had begun over a decade ago when the missile payload and reactor capacity constraints of the Arihant class submarines became evident.

In 2006, a high-level committee under Dr R. Chidambaram, principal scientific advisor to the government of India, assessed India's ability to design and construct a class of three new SSBNs the 'S5', to be fielded beginning in 2021. It budgeted Rs 10,000 crore, to be divided among BARC, DRDO and the ATV project headquarters, to begin the project by 2015. The project continued in the development stage and an indication of a possible long lead construction time began when the government sanctioned a fourth unit around five years ago (squeezed between the two projects as the 4*) to keep the nuclear submarine line employed. (S-1 being the shore-based pressurised water reactor at the DAE facility in Kalpakkam, iterations of which are on the Arihant class.)

The S-5 is the true-blue SSBN on par with those fielded by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Plans drawn up over a decade ago called for an SSBN of 13,500 tonnes, a behemoth displacing nearly the weight of India's first aircraft carrier the INS Vikrant and armed with 12 SLBMs with ranges of 6,000 km and with multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) capability.

In February this year, the DRDO's Hyderabad-based Advanced Naval Systems began a fourth separate SLBM project-the K-6 missile. This three-stage solid-fuel missile with a 6,000 km range is said to be completely different from the K-4 and K-5. It will carry MIRVs and will be ready for induction in less than a decade. These new missiles, over 12 metres tall and over 2 metres in diameter, will carry a three-tonne warhead. The K-6 will ensure that the future Indian SSBN's bastion area will be within the Bay of Bengal, from where it can target all its potential adversaries. A former head of India's Strategic Forces Command hinted at this in a 2014 think tank event in Washington when he said that India's sea-based deterrent would eventually "be secured in havens, waters we are pretty sure of, by virtue of the range of the missiles. We will be operating in a pool in our own maritime backyard." From the safety of its depths, Indian SSBNs would be able to target all its potential adversaries with its 6,000-km range ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

The SSBN fleet is based on the east coast for reasons of geography-the Indian continental shelf dips sharply into the abyssal Bengal fan. A submarine can dive and be concealed just 2 nautical miles from harbor (a submarine on the west coast can dive only after sailing out for 80 nautical miles).

The S-5 is on the drawing board but the project team has already started ordering its ancillary equipment. A new dockyard is being created at the SBC and sources say the project will have an indigenous component of over 80 per cent when they are built a decade from now.
Yet, as is the case with the indigenous SSN, the main challenge in building the S-5 lies in its propulsion plant-a 190-MW nuclear plant- says an official familiar with the project. Development work has started on this new plant will have thrice the output of the Arihant's 83 MW reactor which uses Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU). A former BARC official and part of the Reactor Projects Division which built the Arihant's reactor is confident the 83 MW can be scaled up. "One of the biggest challenges in a naval reactor is compacting it to fit a confined space. Since the new platform (S-5) will have a bigger volume and displacement, upscaling the present reactor should be no problem."- Without a breakthrough in propulsion technology, India's sea-based deterrent will continue to be a modest one.


A peek into Indias top secret and costliest defence project, nuclear submarines
 

hellbent

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only 12 silos for S5 ?

and it is being called "true-blue SSBN on par with those fielded by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council"

seriously
 

_Anonymous_

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only 12 silos for S5 ?

and it is being called "true-blue SSBN on par with those fielded by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council"

seriously

Most of the P-5 SSBN 's have anywhere between 10-12 silos to carry ICBM's each equipped with 8-10 MIRV warheads.
 

hellbent

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Most of the P-5 SSBN 's have anywhere between 10-12 silos to carry ICBM's each equipped with 8-10 MIRV warheads.

P-5 frontline SSBN 's have 16/24 silos

and depending on their operational needs the no of SLBMs carried varies but most of the time they carry the full complement 16/24.

12 silos are few IMO

either sandeep is wrong or maybe the navy feels 12 silos per SSBN is adequate.

lets wait and see

also i am intrigued by the info graph pic , which says that Bay of Bengal will be the launch / patrol area ,

IMO the newer Indian SSBN's should be able to launch SLBMs from anywhere , atleast anywhere in the Indian ocean to increase chances of survival
 
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vstol Jockey

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IN has always been way ahead of its counterparts in laying down NQRs and also stick to them. India is in a unique position compared to anyother nation when its comes to IOR. Just the way we have Himalayas which offer certain amount of natural defense, similarly the entry points to IOR are such that we ca choke them with least effort including for subs. The biggest threat to a SSBM sub is a SSN sub. USSR had created Akula class as the escort subs for their bigger SSBNs to hunt and destroy the enemy SSNs. In our case for next 100 yrs, its PLAN subs that we need to take of. Once our SSBNs are safe in IOR, they can't be destroyed or taken out by any other SSN or any known weapon. that gives us very credible second strike capability. an MIRV equipped SSBN fleet is what we need and IN has done very good job in deciding its future force structure and developing those capabilities in house. Many of you have written about MESMA AIP but what DRDO has developed is the finest and best system in the world. Unlike IAF and IA who give up on DRDO and go for import, IN stays with DRDO and helps them. The case of Scorpene is their for everyone to see. IN refused to bite the import bug by refusing MESMA and stood firm with DRDO AIP.
 
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There mention of two additionals having been floated out for S-4 & 5 but did not mention Aridaman which was floated out much earlier and now nearing formal induction. Arighat is third of the class.

Something doesn't sync. Lot of inconsistencies in the report.

1. The report says 'Arighat' was launched to make space for S4 and S4*, meaning the author thinks Arighat is S3. But we know S3 (aka 'Aridhaman') was launched months back. (was the name Aridhaman ever officially recognized?)
An official says the Arighat launch has more to do with creating more work space within the cramped SBC for assembling the S4 and S4*.

2. Then he says S4 and S4* will be launched in 2020 and 2022 respectively (launched or commissioned?)
These submarines, fitted with eight ballistic missiles or twice the Arihant's missile load, will be launched by 2020 and 2022

3. Then he says only S4 onwards will have 8 VLS (S3 will have only 4 VLS like Arihant?)
The ATV project team came back with an 'Arihant-stretch'-an additional 10-metre-long plug for four K-4 SLBMs to be integrated into the S-4, then on the design board.

4. As per his report S4* will be launched in 2022, but S5 will be "fielded" a year before in 2021?
In 2006, a high-level committee under Dr R. Chidambaram, principal scientific advisor to the government of India, assessed India's ability to design and construct a class of three new SSBNs the 'S5', to be fielded beginning in 2021

But i guess they miscalculated the time required for its development hence decided to order another S4 class and named it S4*
The project continued in the development stage and an indication of a possible long lead construction time began when the government sanctioned a fourth unit around five years ago (squeezed between the two projects as the 4*) to keep the nuclear submarine line employed.

5. S5 class has twice the displacement compared to Arihant class but will carry only 12 VLS compared to Arihant's 4 VLS??
S4 class needed only an additional 10m long plug (increased tonnage of 1000T) to add another 4 VLS to increase the total to 8 VLS.

Called the 'S-5', it will be twice the weight of the Arihant class SSBNs and armed with 12 nuclear-tipped missiles.
 
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Manmohan_MMY

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A peek into India's top secret and costliest defence project, nuclear submarines

SOURCE : A peek into India's top secret and costliest defence project, nuclear submarines

India's top secret nuclear submarine project reached another decadal milestone last month with the launch of a second ballistic missile submarine, the Arighat . On November 19, Union defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman cracked the auspicious coconut on the fin of the submarine in the drydock of the Ship Building Centre (SBC) in Visakhapatnam in a low-key ceremony. Following this, the SBC's drydock was flooded and the submarine quietly floated out. It will be at least another three years before the navy commissions the Arighat.

The event skipped the high-profile public ceremony of the Arihant's launch in 2009 even as the four-decade Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project to field a series of ballistic missile firing nuclear submarines is now moving at a furious assembly-line pace.

Two new units, the S4 and S4 'star', displacing over 1,000 tonnes more than the Arihant class will move into the SBC drydock vacated by the two Arihant class submarines. These submarines, fitted with eight ballistic missiles or twice the Arihant's missile load, will be launched by 2020 and 2022. An official says the Arighat launch has more to do with creating more work space within the cramped SBC for assembling the S4 and S4*. The ATV project is India's costliest defence project. The programme to build four SSBNs (hull classification symbol for a nuclear-powered, ballistic missile-carrying submarine) is India's largest defence programme, estimated at Rs 90,000 crore. Each of these nuclear-powered sharks costs upwards of Rs 4,000 crore, not counting the infrastructure created by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) to build their nuclear powered reactors and the Defence Research and Development Organisation's (DRDO) submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

The project's pan-India spread-headquartered in New Delhi, hull fabrication facility in Gujarat, missile development in Hyderabad, nuclear reactor in Tamil Nadu and final assembly in Visakhapatnam-is the biggest Make in India industrial ecosystem-nearly 60 per cent of the submarine's components are indigenous. It is also the cornerstone of Indo-Russian strategic cooperation; top officials admit the project would not have been possible without extensive Russian design and technical assistance. Ahead of the submarine arm's golden jubilee on December 8, the ATV programme has nearly doubled in size with a Rs 60,000 crore project to build six indigenous nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs).

"It has kicked off, " navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba told the media about the SSN project on December 1. "It is a classified project? the process has started." Design work for the indigenous SSNs displacing around 6,000 tonnes is under way at a newly constructed submarine design centre in Gurgaon. SSNs are armed with conventional cruise missiles and torpedoes but powered by nuclear reactors which give it excellent underwater speed and endurance.

The navy has opened up talks for the lease of another Akula-class submarine from Russia for over $2 billion, to replace the existing INS Chakra when it is returned in 2022 after the end of its lease. (The Chakra is currently non-operational after an incident last August). Meanwhile, final design work is under way on a new series of 13,500-tonne ballistic missile submarines. Called the 'S-5', it will be twice the weight of the Arihant class SSBNs and armed with 12 nuclear-tipped missiles. Earlier this year, the DRDO flagged off its K-6 SLBM project, a missile with an ICBM-like range of 6,000 km. The first phase of Project Varsha, a nuclear submarine base, will be completed by 2022. The base will house India's SSBN fleet in concrete pens blasted out of the hills at Rambilli 50 km south of Visakhapatnam, reportedly at a cost of Rs 30,000 .


THE THIRD LEG OF THE TRIAD ::

A nuclear engine allows a submarine to travel almost indefinitely underwater. They don't have to surface to recharge their batteries like conventional diesel-electric submarines (SSKs) and they move faster underwater because they avoid surface wave resistance.

The Arighat, like the Arihant, is a ballistic missile submarine or a boomer because it carries nuclear-tipped missiles and forms the third leg of a triad of air, land and sea-based nuclear weapon carrying platforms, enunciated in India's draft nuclear doctrine after the May 1998 Pokharan-2 nuclear tests. When India observes the 20th anniversary of the tests five months from now, it will have a modest sea-based deterrent with one SSBN in service and a second soon to join it.

"The triad becomes effective when you have a submarine operational at all times. In our case, a triad is operational only part of the time-when the Arihant sails out to sea," says strategic analyst Bharat Karnad. When an Indian SSBN sails out of Visakhapatnam and into the Bay of Bengal, it can virtually disappear for months, remaining underwater, its endurance limited only by the endurance of its crew, communicating only through extremely low frequency (ELF) antennae which it trails in the water. While bombers, mobile missile launchers, missile trains and ground-based launchers can be tracked, nuclear submarines are virtually undetectable. This is what makes them the most precious asset of the nuclear triad.

Submarines thus become an important component of India's 'no first use' policy for nuclear weapons because they act as guarantors of 'assured retaliation' or a second-strike, preventing any surprise first-strike by a nuclear-armed adversary. They are vital at a time when China's PLA Rocket Forces can target any point on the Indian mainland with nuclear tipped missiles and India has fewer retaliatory options.

The Arihant has so far been equipped with 12 B-05 SLBMs which have a range of 750 km-which means a distant transit to an adversary's shores. A 3,500-km range missile, the 'K-4' is still in trials-the DRDO is to conduct a fourth test of the missile sometime in December, from a specially designed submersible pontoon launcher in the Bay of Bengal. Final tests of the K-4 from the Arihant are due in the Bay of Bengal in the near future. These are to be followed by tests of a K-5 missile, a 5,000-km SLBM, a project started in 2015. The 'K series' missiles are all named after former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. The K-4 and K-5, each of which can carry a two-tonne warhead will give the triad a longer, more robust leg.

Information about the ATV project is meagre. It operates directly under the supervision of national security advisor Ajit Doval and is now wrapped in deep levels of secrecy. A navy proposal for a high-profile launch of the Arighat where the PM and cabinet ministers would be present was overruled by the PMO. Security around the project is the heaviest for any publicly known military facility (the navy recently cited security concerns to acquire a public road passing near the SBC in Visakhapatnam).

Naval top brass are chary of even discussing the project either in public or in private. "That (the ATV) is a classified project... I'm not going to take any questions on that," navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba told the media a press conference on December 1, a marked departure from a predecessor who claimed, rather disingenously in 2010, of the INS Arihant undertaking 'a deterrent patrol by 2012'. The Arihant was inducted into service in August last year after weapon trials but continues to undertake extensive trials but without a prolonged sea deployment. An actual deterrent patrol-where a nuclear-missile armed submarine goes into its operational area armed with nuclear warheads-is thought to be further away.

The launch of the Arighat comes amidst fast-changing geopolitical developments. The Chinese navy has deployed and initiated the fastest submarine expansion of any navy since the end of the Cold War with an operational undersea force of 63 vessels-5 SSNs, 4 SSBNs and 54 SSKs.

It recently sold a class of eight conventionally powered diesel-electric submarines to Pakistan, at least some of which are likely to be fitted with nuclear-tipped missiles.

"Sea-based deterrents are going to become more important as time passes, especially for a country with a no-first use policy," says strategic analyst Rear Admiral Raja Menon (retired). "The location of your nuclear weapons becomes known and even a half per cent knowledge of your existing weapon sites each year could add up to something substantial over the years, thus degrading your deterrent."


THE HUNTER-KILLERS ::

A solitary two-month patrol by a Chinese submarine in late 2013 came as a rude wake-up call for India's security establishment. Chinas most advanced SSN, a Shang class, sailed out from its bastion in Hainan island on December 13, 2013 and returned after a two-month 'anti-piracy' patrol in the Indian Ocean, on February 12, 2014. R&AW assessments termed the deployment 'seriously aggravated India's security concerns'. The ATV headquarters soon dusted out plans for building a series of six indigenous SSNs, shelved by the government over a decade ago due to budgetary constraints. Plans called for a series of submarines capable of speeds of over 25 knots and diving to 500 metres.

SSNs are like multi-role fighter jets, ferocious underwater predators. The navy's INS Chakra, for instance, can run underwater at speeds of close to 30 knots, more than twice the speed of conventional diesel-electric submarines, stalk and hunt warships and attack shore targets.

But like fighter jets, their performance lies in their propulsion plant, in this case a high output nuclear reactor which can cope with the tremendous bursts of sustained speed without degrading reactor output. And this is where the Indian Navy and BARC are said to be staring at a technological abyss. An 83 MW SSBN reactor like that of the Arihant, is essentially meant for slow, steady operation, using it onboard an SSN would call for more frequent refuelling cycles.

One solution believed to be under contemplation is for BARC to design a twin-reactor configuration for the SSN to meet its increased power demands. Another solution currently being explored would be to get foreign design assistance and leapfrog from India's second generation reactor technology to fourth gen.


DREAMS OF A BEHEMOTH ::

The ATV headquarters building in New Delhi's cantonment area has a rather unusual name: 'Akanksha' or desire. Since its start in the 1970s, the nuclear submarine project has been a dream-never constrained by finance, only by technology.There's a reason for the modest size of the Arihant class submarines and why they are called 'baby boomers'. When the Pokharan-2 nuclear tests announced India's entry as a nuclear weapons power, the Arihant class were meant to be SSNs. Post the tests, they were converted into SSBNs-DRDO inserted a plug with four short-ranged ballistic missiles. The design got another tweak a decade ago after an intervention from then finance minister P. Chidambaram who was on the political committee which monitors the classified programme. The minister questioned the billions being spent on a boat launching just four nuclear tipped missiles.

The ATV project team came back with an 'Arihant-stretch'-an additional 10-metre-long plug for four K-4 SLBMs to be integrated into the S-4, then on the design board. The plug would increase the weight of the submarine by nearly 1,000 tonnes without significantly altering its performance. An additional unit, the S-4* was sanctioned in 2012 when it became clear that the S-5 would take a longer development cycle and would result in the ATV line being idle.

Plans for building a new series of strategic nuclear submarines had begun over a decade ago when the missile payload and reactor capacity constraints of the Arihant class submarines became evident.

In 2006, a high-level committee under Dr R. Chidambaram, principal scientific advisor to the government of India, assessed India's ability to design and construct a class of three new SSBNs the 'S5', to be fielded beginning in 2021. It budgeted Rs 10,000 crore, to be divided among BARC, DRDO and the ATV project headquarters, to begin the project by 2015. The project continued in the development stage and an indication of a possible long lead construction time began when the government sanctioned a fourth unit around five years ago (squeezed between the two projects as the 4*) to keep the nuclear submarine line employed. (S-1 being the shore-based pressurised water reactor at the DAE facility in Kalpakkam, iterations of which are on the Arihant class.)

The S-5 is the true-blue SSBN on par with those fielded by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
Plans drawn up over a decade ago called for an SSBN of 13,500 tonnes, a behemoth displacing nearly the weight of India's first aircraft carrier the INS Vikrant and armed with 12 SLBMs with ranges of 6,000 km and with multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) capability.

In February this year, the DRDO's Hyderabad-based Advanced Naval Systems began a fourth separate SLBM project-the K-6 missile. This three-stage solid-fuel missile with a 6,000 km range is said to be completely different from the K-4 and K-5. It will carry MIRVs and will be ready for induction in less than a decade. These new missiles, over 12 metres tall and over 2 metres in diameter, will carry a three-tonne warhead. The K-6 will ensure that the future Indian SSBN's bastion area will be within the Bay of Bengal, from where it can target all its potential adversaries. A former head of India's Strategic Forces Command hinted at this in a 2014 think tank event in Washington when he said that India's sea-based deterrent would eventually "be secured in havens, waters we are pretty sure of, by virtue of the range of the missiles. We will be operating in a pool in our own maritime backyard." From the safety of its depths, Indian SSBNs would be able to target all its potential adversaries with its 6,000-km range ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

The SSBN fleet is based on the east coast for reasons of geography-the Indian continental shelf dips sharply into the abyssal Bengal fan. A submarine can dive and be concealed just 2 nautical miles from harbor (a submarine on the west coast can dive only after sailing out for 80 nautical miles).

The S-5 is on the drawing board but the project team has already started ordering its ancillary equipment. A new dockyard is being created at the SBC and sources say the project will have an indigenous component of over 80 per cent when they are built a decade from now.

Yet, as is the case with the indigenous SSN, the main challenge in building the S-5 lies in its propulsion plant-a 190-MW nuclear plant- says an official familiar with the project. Development work has started on this new plant will have thrice the output of the Arihant's 83 MW reactor which uses Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU). A former BARC official and part of the Reactor Projects Division which built the Arihant's reactor is confident the 83 MW can be scaled up. "One of the biggest challenges in a naval reactor is compacting it to fit a confined space. Since the new platform (S-5) will have a bigger volume and displacement, upscaling the present reactor should be no problem."- Without a breakthrough in propulsion technology, India's sea-based deterrent will continue to be a modest one.
 
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Aashish

PARIKRAMA
Staff member
Administrator
Nov 30, 2017
389
1,820
India
Will post something Tomo where the whole reaching IOR, wakes and hydrophone picking up submarines and ships is tracked accurately with latest technological platforms. My contention is of course different.. but I do see credible threat to whole of IN and undermining our triad by a big margin.

India being a reactive government can't stop this with present stance.. and with possible new technological programs, it has to be addressed or with building blocks that we already have, a message has to be sent in clear terms..

It would be interesting to see what techniques are used to counter such nets of detections. My proposition being just one of them.
 

CountryFirst

Active member
Dec 11, 2017
462
182
Bharat
IN has always been way ahead of its counterparts in laying down NQRs and also stick to them. India is in a unique position compared to anyother nation when its comes to IOR. Just the way we have Himalayas which offer certain amount of natural defense, similarly the entry points to IOR are such that we ca choke them with least effort including for subs. The biggest threat to a SSBM sub is a SSN sub. USSR had created Akula class as the escort subs for their bigger SSBNs to hunt and destroy the enemy SSNs. In our case for next 100 yrs, its PLAN subs that we need to take of. Once our SSBNs are safe in IOR, they can't be destroyed or taken out by any other SSN or any known weapon. that gives us very credible second strike capability. an MIRV equipped SSBN fleet is what we need and IN has done very good job in deciding its future force structure and developing those capabilities in house. Many of you have written about MESMA AIP but what DRDO has developed is the finest and best system in the world. Unlike IAF and IA who give up on DRDO and go for import, IN stays with DRDO and helps them. The case of Scorpene is their for everyone to see. IN refused to bite the import bug by refusing MESMA and stood firm with DRDO AIP.

I wish navy take over the army and airforce through some intelligence coupe.
Illegal or not I don't care.
But it is Dharmic, since it will be a positive contributor to the nation.
 

CountryFirst

Active member
Dec 11, 2017
462
182
Bharat
IN has always been way ahead of its counterparts in laying down NQRs and also stick to them. India is in a unique position compared to anyother nation when its comes to IOR. Just the way we have Himalayas which offer certain amount of natural defense, similarly the entry points to IOR are such that we ca choke them with least effort including for subs. The biggest threat to a SSBM sub is a SSN sub. USSR had created Akula class as the escort subs for their bigger SSBNs to hunt and destroy the enemy SSNs. In our case for next 100 yrs, its PLAN subs that we need to take of. Once our SSBNs are safe in IOR, they can't be destroyed or taken out by any other SSN or any known weapon. that gives us very credible second strike capability. an MIRV equipped SSBN fleet is what we need and IN has done very good job in deciding its future force structure and developing those capabilities in house. Many of you have written about MESMA AIP but what DRDO has developed is the finest and best system in the world. Unlike IAF and IA who give up on DRDO and go for import, IN stays with DRDO and helps them. The case of Scorpene is their for everyone to see. IN refused to bite the import bug by refusing MESMA and stood firm with DRDO AIP.

Your posts are so brilliant and insightful that I wish everytime I could have you as a mentor.
 

Vicky

Rajaraja Chola
Dec 1, 2017
367
410
Canada
Will post something Tomo where the whole reaching IOR, wakes and hydrophone picking up submarines and ships is tracked accurately with latest technological platforms. My contention is of course different.. but I do see credible threat to whole of IN and undermining our triad by a big margin.

India being a reactive government can't stop this with present stance.. and with possible new technological programs, it has to be addressed or with building blocks that we already have, a message has to be sent in clear terms..

It would be interesting to see what techniques are used to counter such nets of detections. My proposition being just one of them.

Sub Name in the article is confusing.... The name of S3 is not Aridhaman ?
 

Golden_Rule

Boundless Seeker
Dec 6, 2017
1,010
850
USA
INS Arighat is India’s Second Nuclear Submarine ??

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According to latest article by India Today, India last month launched its Second Nuclear submarine into the water in a low-key event held at Ship Building Centre (SBC) in Visakhapatnam. The article which was penned down by India’s foremost Defence Journalist Sandeep Unnithan who was first to break the story on India’s Secretive “K SLBM” Program which does bring some reliability in the picture due to his close association with India’s Nuclear submarine program over the years.

India has named its Second submarine INS Arighat and not INS Aridhaman as quite popularly known in the media for quite some time. Arighat is set to be a mirror copy of the lead Arihant class submarine, but with advancement and improvements in the submarine technology and not as speculated in media reports that second submarine will be larger and bigger than INS Arihant.

INS Arighat and INS Arihant both have a surface displacement of over 6000 tonnes and both are powered by same 83 MW Pressurized water reactor (PWR) developed by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) clearly dismissing earlier speculations that Second submarine will have 1000 tonnes higher surface displacement and will be powered by more powerful Pressurized water reactor (PWR) .

INS Arighat will carry the same load of 12 × K-15 Sagarika submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) or 4 × K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) as its main armaments but will be equipped with better communications equipment along with improved sonar suite over INS Arihant.

Submarine codenamed S4 might be INS Aridhaman which will be a lengthened version of INS Arighat and INS Arihant and will have a surface displacement of over 7000 and will be able to carry 24 K-15 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) or 8 × K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) as its main armaments which still be powered by same reactor used on INS Arighat and INS Arihant and most likely to be launched by 2020.

The second submarine in the new stretched line will be S4* ( Star) which will carry further internal improvements yet will have similar outer dimensions of S4.

S5 will be a new line of SSBN which India is planning to develop with a surface displacement of over 13500 tonnes which will be powered by new 190 MW Pressurized water reactor (PWR) likely to be developed by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in near future. Based on S5 Class SSBN India will develop nearly Six Sister ships.

Nuclear Attack Submarine

It seems India’s first line of Indigenous nuclear attack submarine will have more in common with Arihant class Ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) then Akula class nuclear attack submarines. As per report India’s six new nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN) will borrow 83 MW Pressurized water reactor (PWR) from Arihant class and will have a similar surface displacement of over 6000 tonnes.

SSN will get some major design changes and improvements since their area of operations and the missions tasked will be completely different then SSBN. India’s SSN will be armed with Submarine launched Long ranged Sub-sonic Cruise missile based on Nirbhay and it is also likely will have Supersonic BrahMos SLCM as an option.