India is set to test its first ever nuclear missile submarine within a matter of weeks, finally completing the nuclear triad — the capability of launching strategic weapons from ground, air and underwater. The INS Arihant, India’s first home grown submarine, will be launched for sea tests within months, it is learnt.
‘A top Navy officer has said INS Arihant will provide teeth to the strategic forces. “The INS Arihant will provide us with the option for sea-based strategic deterrence, the third leg of the triad,” Assistant Chief of Navy Staff (Submarines) Rear Admiral L Sarat Babu said.
Sources said once the trials begin, the submarine will be mated with the K 15 submarine launched ballistic missile and the first test launch will be undertaken. While the K 15 has been launched successfully from an underwater pontoon, the nuclear-capable missile is yet to be proven from the Arihant. The Indian submarine, which has been developed with the help of Russian designers, achieved criticality of its nuclear reactor in August and had been scheduled to go in for sea trials by December. This, sources said, has now been shifted to early this year and the submarine would be in trials within a month.