Arihant-class SSBN - News & Discussions

lcafanboy

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Deep diving into the facts about INS Arihant 'accident'

By ET CONTRIBUTORS | Jan 12, 2018, 09.44 AM IST




By YUSUF T UNJHAWALA
On Monday, The Hindu reported that India's only operational nuclear ballistic missile submarine, INS Arihant, was out of action for about 10 months last year due to an accident. The report raises more questions than it answers due to its glaring technical and operational inconsistencies. First, the news item stated that the Arihant's propulsion compartment was damaged after water entered it, as a hatch on the rear side was left open by mistake.

The submarine has no hatches there
. The Arihant is based on Russian double hull design with a sealed nuclear reactor section. Except for the latest French nuclear submarines that have a hatch above the reactor for quicker refuelling, no other country with nuclear submarines have such a system.




Although the Arihant's core is not designed to operate for the submarine's lifetime and will need refuelling, it does not have a hatch. To refuel, the hull will have to be cut open and welded back, as is the case for the Russian nuclear attack submarine, the Akula-II class that India has leased and operates as INS Chakra.

There are no external hatches in the compartment that houses the steam turbine, gearbox, generator and shaft that drives the propeller. Under normal circumstances, it is not possible for sea water to enter the submarine, and certainly not via a 'non-existent hatch'. It also not possible for a modern submarine that has various sensors to not have a warning system about an open hatch in any other area of the submarine critical for its survival.

Two, the news report says that the absence of Arihant from operations came to the political leadership's attention during the India-China military standoff at Dokalam when India allegedly wanted to deploy it.


This is unlikely as this would mean an across-the-board failure of intelligence and of the checks and balances in place. It also means the armed forces not keeping the civilian leadership in the loop, which is against the former's operating procedures.

INS Arihant carries sea-based nuclear weapons handled by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) under the Nuclear Command Authority (NCA). The NCA compromises the Political Council headed by the Prime Minister and the Executive Council headed by the National Security Advisor (NSA), who advises the political council on the use of nuclear weapons.

Intelligence agencies like Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) report to the NSA. It is improbable that the NSA, arguably the most powerful person in the Indian security establishment, did not know about the status of an important strategic asset for 7-8 months, and learnt about the damage only at the time of a crisis.

Third, as sea-based deterrence requires mated warheads, it is a departure from the past when India kept its warheads and delivery systems separate. There are additional protocols to keep civilian control over the release of nuclear weapons. Which makes the news report suspect about its claim that the political leadership was not informed.

The civilian leadership asking for India's sea-based nuclear assets to be deployed during the Dokalam crisis is consistent with reports of land- and airbased nuclear assets being put in place as well. It again shows how serious the situation was at the height of the crisis.

This, despite the fact that both India and China profess a no-first use policy. It shows India's lack of trust in the declared Chinese policy that required both sides to engage in confidence-building measures (CBMs).

India asking for the Arihant to be deployed against China indicates an operational long-range submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM), apart from the 750 km range K-15 SLBM that will not be able to target China from the Bay of Bengal.

India has tested the K-4 SLBM, which has a range of 3,500 km. It also indicates the level of readiness of India's nuclear weapons, which were earlier kept in demated form which entailed the warheads and the missiles being kept separate.

This requires a sophisticated command and control system and safety measures that will prevent the release of nuclear weapons without authorisation from the political leadership.

The writer is Editor, Defence Forum India
INS ARIHANT: Deep diving into the facts about INS Arihant 'accident' - The Economic Times
 

Bon Plan

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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.
All the US attack subs are nuclear ones.
I don't think the 80-100 of China will all be nuclear powered...
You can't compare the two, even if they carry the same torpedoes and missiles.
 
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Abhishek Das

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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.

Chinese may have around 80 submarines by 2030 but the US Navy Submarine fleet will not shrink to just 40-50 anytime soon, becoz the US Navy is in the process of building 20 new attack submarines replacing the older ones along with 16 new SSBN's under construction which will replace Ohio class in near future. US Navy's total submarine fleet will also remain around 80 vessels by 2030 !!! So Chinese may not have upper hand against the US Navy by then too. Chinese have been operating more than 30 older type diesel electric submarines today out of their total fleet of 62 vessels !!!! They will replace those vessels in near future, so anything more than the number 80 is very much unrealistic !!!! Finally, they may not even touch 80 subs number too because of their replacements !!!! And while US Navy will have only nuclear submarines in its fleet, Chinese will heavily rely on Diesel vessels just like now. Almost 55-65 vessels out of their planned fleet of 80-odd submarines will be Diesel electric powered and the remaining 15-25 will be nuclear ones !!!

And as per Indian Navy is concerned, Indian Navy may have around 40 submarines by 2030 or beyond, our Navy may end up getting around 24 diesel electric vessels and 16 nuclear ones. If the planned Project-76 of 6 indigenous diesel electric powered submarines kicks off within the next decade, then we may see the number increase further !!! Note another thing, Indian Navy is not going to decommission Kilo class SSK's anytime soon despite their full service life becoz these vessels will undergo massive refit partially in Russia and partially in India later. These refit is completely different from what we actually knew, this is not actually a refit but it is complete modification of hull and sensors and suites !!!! These submarines hull may be repaired or completely changed with new technologies !!! After refit, these submarines will get extended life for another decade or more without any lags !!!! Remember an Indian Navy Kilo class submarine INS Sindhudhvaj killed a US Navy Los Angeles class nuclear attack SSN during MALABAR 2016 !!!! That means these Kilo class submarines are still worthy in today's volatile maritime environment !!! Chinese, Vietnames, Russians themselves and North Koreans still operates Kilos in large numbers and they are modifying those vessels but not decommissioning them !!!! Chinese too have been upgrading them and want to keep them for long !!!!

So, this means Indian Navy's submarine fleet of 2030 too may have our Kilo class submarines operational which have been already in operation for the last two and a half decade !!! Along with 9 Kilos, we will have 6-9 Scorpean class SSK's, 6 Project-75I SSK's, 4 Arihant class SSBN's, 5 S-5 class SSBN's, 6 indigenous SSN's and 1 Akula-II class SSN !!!
 

Bon Plan

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Nuclear Submarine INS Arihant Back in Action After Damage in Propulsion Chamber

India’s first indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant is back in action after being crippled for the last several months following a major damage which resulted in water entering the warship’s propulsion chamber. Almost 10 months ago a possible human error led to water entering Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear (SSBN) INS Arihant’s propulsion chamber rendering it unfit to sail.

Navy officials say the accident took place when INS Arihant was reportedly at Vishakhapatnam harbour. The damaged pipes and other instruments were replaced to make the warship operational again. The incident came to light just a few weeks after the Navy admitted nuclear submarine INS Chakra’s SONAR, known as the eyes and ears of a submarine in the water, was damaged in early October 2016 after either hit something or while docking at Vishakhapatnam. INS Chakra, a nuclear-powered Akula II class Nerpa submarine, was taken on a 10-year lease from Russia in 2012.

INS Arihant was commissioned into Indian Navy in August 2016 and completed India’s nuclear triad. The submarine will carry either 12 nuclear-tipped 750-km range K-15 Sagarika short range Sea Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) or four 3500-km range K4 SLBMs, which can be fired from four vertical launch tubes. The 112-metre log, 6,000-tonne INS Arihant is powered by a 83 MW pressurised light water reactor and has been built under the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project at the Ship Building Centre in Visakhapatnam, one of the key bases of Indian Navy.
Only 4 SLBM on a 6000 tons sub? It’s few.
 

Volcano

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Only 4 SLBM on a 6000 tons sub? It’s few.

Yes, it is. This SSBN will most likely carry 12 k15s(700Km range) not K4s(3500KM range).

The second SSBN, Aridhaman is of same size(6000 Tons), but it will have 8 launch tubes, can carry 8 K4s or 24 K15s. Interestingly, K15 payload is 1 ton whereas K4 payload is 2 ton. Make me wonder why the payload difference is almost double.

https://www.drdo.gov.in/drdo/pub/npc/2018/january/din-03january2018.pdf

Are they trying to downplay the range of K4 due to political reasons by stating 3,500 Km for 2 ton, or is it carrying a very large nuke? Makes me wonder.
 
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advaidhya

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Only 4 SLBM on a 6000 tons sub? It’s few.
Many things are classified. Till 1999, the intention was to build a SSN but changed the name to SSBN in 1999. The size of the submarine is just 6000tons which is rare for a SSBN. The Arihant is also quiet and not noisy. So, I have a serious suspicion that it is likely to be SSN and simply branded as SSBN. It has both missiles and torpedo firing ability but it is not a simple SSBN.
 

Kvasir

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The size of the submarine is just 6000tons which is rare for a SSBN

It's not. Most SSBNs have grossed between 6000-7500 tons when surfaced. Arihant is 6000 tons surfaced, which puts its displacement at a likely 8000 tons submerged. China's most recent SSBN design, the Jin class, is 11000 tons submerged, which puts its surfaced displacement around 8000 tons. A Russian Delta IV is 7500 tons surfaced, but 10000 tons submerged. China's Xia, France's Redoubtable, the British Resolution, Russian Yankee and Hotel and American Ben Franklin, James Madison, Lafayette, Ethan Allen and George Washington classes are all similar tonnage, despite carrying a much heavier payload. Only the Hotel class carries less then double-digit missiles.

It's not rare, it's common, even on some designs currently deployed. Your heavyweights like Borei, Typhoon, Vanguard and Ohio all displace more then 10000 tons surfaced.

The Arihant is also quiet and not noisy.

Traditionally ballistic missile submarines have been quieter then their attack counterparts, so that's not abnormal either. Despite being designed and built in the mid-70s, an American Ohio class submarine is quieter then an Improved LA class, which came 10 years after it.

Being larger, an SSBN has more room for quieting measures, similar to how a B-2 is stealthier then an F-22 or F-35, since its larger design means it has more room to optimize for additional radar wavelengths and more space for IR and acoustic dampening.



It has both missiles and torpedo firing ability but it is not a simple SSBN.

All SSBNs have torpedo tubes for self defence, and the ability to fire not just ballistic, but cruise and anti-ship missiles and even deploy mines or special forces.

Vanguard.
05917f78029925a4c6985095dbd3b581.jpg


Ohio.


Triomphant.


Yankee.


Delta IV.


Thanks to a fire while in drydock, we got a good look at the forward torpedo tubes of K-84 Ekaterinburg.


Just to show a few.
 

Paro

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It's not. Most SSBNs have grossed between 6000-7500 tons when surfaced. Arihant is 6000 tons surfaced, which puts its displacement at a likely 8000 tons submerged. China's most recent SSBN design, the Jin class, is 11000 tons submerged, which puts its surfaced displacement around 8000 tons. A Russian Delta IV is 7500 tons surfaced, but 10000 tons submerged. China's Xia, France's Redoubtable, the British Resolution, Russian Yankee and Hotel and American Ben Franklin, James Madison, Lafayette, Ethan Allen and George Washington classes are all similar tonnage, despite carrying a much heavier payload. Only the Hotel class carries less then double-digit missiles.

It's not rare, it's common, even on some designs currently deployed. Your heavyweights like Borei, Typhoon, Vanguard and Ohio all displace more then 10000 tons surfaced.



Traditionally ballistic missile submarines have been quieter then their attack counterparts, so that's not abnormal either. Despite being designed and built in the mid-70s, an American Ohio class submarine is quieter then an Improved LA class, which came 10 years after it.

Being larger, an SSBN has more room for quieting measures, similar to how a B-2 is stealthier then an F-22 or F-35, since its larger design means it has more room to optimize for additional radar wavelengths and more space for IR and acoustic dampening.





All SSBNs have torpedo tubes for self defence, and the ability to fire not just ballistic, but cruise and anti-ship missiles and even deploy mines or special forces.

Vanguard.
View attachment 3015

Ohio.


Triomphant.


Yankee.


Delta IV.


Thanks to a fire while in drydock, we got a good look at the forward torpedo tubes of K-84 Ekaterinburg.


Just to show a few.
Hey, do you have pictures of any sub with a pumpjet propulsion? i mean a clear picture of the back moving parts.
 
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TARGET

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A discussion from NDTV team clearly explained why India is the first country which inducted this nuclear submarine with ballistic Missile capabilities.

 

_Anonymous_

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PKS's summation of the journey of Project - ATV culminating in the first deterrent patrol of the INS - Arihant


Both of you ought to recall what I had explained 2 years ago & what was subsequently proven last year by anecdotal recollections by former naval & DRDO officials that are still available on YouTube. What I had explained or revealed then was that: 1) Between 1968 & 1998 the IN’s reqmt was only for SSNs. 2) From the late 1970s onwards the IN got interested in SSGNs. 3) The reqmt for SSBNs arose ONLY AFTER May 1998. So, as a result of all these, the IN since 1982 expressed interest in SSGN s that could also act as SSNs. In July of that year the Project 670 SKAT SSGN with R-70 Amethyst ASCMs was offered to India. The then Indian PM Indira Gandhi led a high-level delegation that included Rajiv Gandhi to the USSR & this was an unusually long trip lasting from September 20-26, 1982 during which the delegation visited Moscow, Estonia & Kiev. During this trip the framework agreement was inked for procuring an SSGN on lease, followed by licenced-manufacturing of a newer 6,000-tonne SSGN model, plus procurement of MiG-29B-12, whose existence was first acknowledged by Moscow during a crucial dinner banquet hosted in the Kremlin by Leonid Brezhnev. The USSR then also conducted coastal surveys & recommended that the navigation channel north of Bheemunipatnam in Andhra Pradesh be the site for basing the SSGNs. After the inter-governmental contract for the SSGNs was inked in 1988 as part of the KNPP contract, work began in earnest In India under the ATV Project & Sagarika Project. For the latter, as since acknowledged by Sudhir Mishra (CMD of BrahMos Aerospace) in a DD interview, he was based in Russia from 1993 onwards till the creation of BrahMos Aerospace in February 1998, since the SSGNs were to be armed with BrahMos ASCMs. But after May 1998 when there arose a reqmt for SLBMs, the only available option was to ensure that the VLS cells for BrahMos-1 could also launch SLBMs & hence the K-15 was designed so as to fit into the VLS cell without any complication. Fitment of the follow-on K-4 SLBM therefore became impossible on the S-2 & S-3 SSBNs, but was possible only on the S-4 & that too after significant modifications to the SSGN’s hull design (including a 10-metre plug-in section of the hull) since additional pumps/piping was reqd to ensure safe buoyancy levels after the heavier SLBMs were ejected from the VLS cells. That’s why the S-4 SSBN will take a longer time to build & that’s why (it pays to pay attention to the laws of physics) the S-2 & S-3 SSBNs will never be able to carry K-4 SLBMs. So eventually the S-2 & S-3 boats will be fully armed with BrahMos-1s AFTER the S-4 SSBN becomes available in the following decade. The 6,000km-range SLBMs with MIRVs, however will not be able to go on board the S-4 SSBN & hence the larger 13,700-tonne S-5, S-6 & S-7 SSBNs will be reqd for each hosting 12 such SLBMs. Nor is it true that the IN’s SSBNs will be operationally deployed anywhere in the Bay of Bengal, where there are no deep basins or trenches reqd for SSBNs to lurk within & hence even during the Cold War era not a single SSBN from any navy ever ventured into the Bay of Bengal. The only 2 areas which are the favourite lurking grounds for SSBNs worldwide are the Mariana & Chagos trenches in the Pacific & Indian Ocean areas.
 

randomradio

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There seems to be no substance to the article.

This is the weirdest sentence:
While the reactor gives 83 MWe of thermal output, this converts into around 40 to 45 MW electric output

MWe is electrical output. That's what the "e" signifies.

And it's news to me that BARC controls nukes. I wonder what the SFC does then. :D
 
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_Anonymous_

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There seems to be no substance to the article.

This is the weirdest sentence:
While the reactor gives 83 MWe of thermal output, this converts into around 40 to 45 MW electric output

MWe is electrical output. That's what the "e" signifies.

And it's news to me that BARC controls nukes. I wonder what the SFC does then. :D
I think that 83 MW part is a typo. From what I recall of PKS's writings it's 83 MW thermal. In which case a figure of 40 MWe holds good ( I haven't worked out the conversion, lazy that I am) . If anyone in the know can clarify, would appreciate it.

As far as the N warheads resting with DAE/ BARC goes, there must be some truth to it.
Please read the Significance of Arihant by Adm Arun Prakash. He's been quite candid about the heirarchy and responsibilities of the SFC w. r. t the C&C of N weapons.

I believe his argument about the speed at which the SSBN operates, is fallacious. SSBN's are typically not known to operate at high speeds as SSN's as agility and extreme manoeuvres are functions of the latter. That's not part of an SSBN's charter.

I also believe what Swami ( & PKS in his blog) have been arguing was that this patrol wasn't a deterrent patrol in that it didn't carry the full complement of SLBM's mated with the N warheads, which is what it is being advertised as.

Add to the fact that the K-15 which these boats are supposed to carry lacks the requisite range ( about 750 kms. But let's assume it to be twice that figure) to threaten both China and Pakistan too ( to a large extent), which is supposed to be the concept of what deterrence is all about.

That aside, I have often found Swami to be unduly pessimistic, cynical even, ( & our security managers and defence establishment certainly provide him plenty of ammo) about India's security environment and achievements in general. If you've been reading him as long as I have, he comes across as an alarmist, painting the worst case scenario without ever suggesting adequate remedial measures.
 
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