Project to build N-powered attack subs set to get CCS nod | India News
NEW DELHI: India will approve a mega indigenous project to build three nuclear submarines, which will be followed by approval for three more submarines at a later date. This is part of the long-term plan to tackle the growing Chinese footprint in China, the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and beyond.
The Cabinet Security Committee (CCS) will likely give its final nod “within a month or two” to the submarine project, which has been on fire for over a year, government sources say.
The overall project envisages the construction of six nuclear-powered submarines (called SSNs in marine parlance), each weighing over 6,000 tons in the Shipbuilding Center (SBC) in Vizag.
But only three will be approved straight away by the CCS, and the first Indigenous SSN is slated to be launched around 2032 or so. Although each will cost around 15,000 rupees, funding won’t be a huge problem as it will be spread over several years, the sources said.
India will also launch its second nuclear ballistic missile (SSBN) submarine, INS Arighat, this year. The first, INS Arihant, became fully operational in late 2018 with a “successful deterrent patrol”. This completed India’s long-awaited “nuclear triad” after the land-based Agni missiles and fighter jets such as the Mirage-2000s that were manipulated by the jury to deliver atomic bombs.
An SSN does not have a “strategic role” like an SSBN. Instead, it is a deadly “hunter-killer” of enemy warships and submarines while being equipped with long-range cruise missiles to hit land targets. It can calmly pursue an enemy target for greater distances and take it out if necessary.
India currently operates a single SSN, INS Chakra, the Akula class submarine that was leased by Russia for 10 years in April 2012. In March 2019, a $ 3 billion (Rs 21,000 billion) contract was signed with Russia to lease a more advanced SSN to eventually replace INS chakra.
India, of course, needs to build its own SSNs because they not only turn out to be cheaper, but they also give the local economy a huge boost. Nuclear submarines can operate at high speed over long distances and stay underwater for months without having to resurface or “snorkel” every few days to get oxygen to recharge their batteries like traditional diesel-electric submarines.
TOI was the first to report that the Modi government had converted the 30-year submarine blueprint, first approved by the CCS in 1999, to the construction of 18 diesel-electric boats and six SSNs.
The construction of SSBNs is an independent project within the framework of the PMO. The 6,000-ton INS Arihant and INS Arighat, which are currently equipped with K-15 nuclear missiles with a range of 750 km, are followed by two 7,000-ton SSBNs.
In addition, an even larger SSBN with a capacity of 13,500 tons is planned, while the new K-4 missiles with a range of 3,500 km are now practically finished, as previously reported by TOI.
Aside from two nuclear submarines, India currently has only 12 aging diesel-electric boats and three new Scorpenes. China already has the world’s largest navy with 350 warships, including 50 conventional and 10 nuclear submarines.