India’s indigenously-built nuclear submarine INS Arihant began sea trials on December 15 from the Shipbuilding Centre (SBC) at the Naval Dockyard in Visakhapatnam.
The 6,000-tonne boat, equipped with an 80MW Indian-designed and built pressurised water reactor, smoothly exiting the enclosed harbour from its narrow mouth into the open sea. India’s newly-appointed Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar congratulated the Navy and defence scientists and wished good luck to those on board.
According to India Strategic, the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force (IAF) had deployed their respective Mig 29Ks and SU 30 combat jets around the harbour while Boeing P-8I maritime surveillance and attack aircraft from the nearby naval base of INS Rajali at Arakkonam sanitised the area for any hostile underwater activity. The Navy has six of the eight aircraft ordered already in service. Ships of the Navy's Eastern Command, which is also located in Visakhapatnam, were appropriately deployed.
The Navy, which is to operate the boat, has provided officers and men trained by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), and some of those on board have experience of operating INS Chakra, India’s nuclear propelled (but not nuclear attack) submarine (SSN) supplied by Russia.
India plans to have a fleet of five Arihant class SSBN submarines to complete its nuclear triad towards deterrence.