Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Nuclear submarine: India joins the elite club of nations with advanced technology vessels

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, June 10: India will join the elite club of four nuclear advanced nations when the country's first indigenously built nuclear-powered submarine will formally become operational on July 26.

Code-named "advanced technology vessel", the nuclear submarine has been on the Indian Defence agenda for more than four decades. Thevessel was first proposed after the Indo-Pak war in 1971. But thingsstarted moving fast in the last five years culminating in the country's first nuclear submarine. It will give an advantage to India over its nuclear rival Pakistan. The other nuclear neighbour China already
possesses such submarine vessels.

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh will inspect the submarine on July 26. The submarine has underwater ballistic missile launch capability.

The ballistic missile was tested last year. With the induction of this vessel, India would join the elite group of Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States which have nuclear-powered submarines.

Navy neither denied nor confirmed the test trial of nuclear submarine but admitted some activity and preparations were going on for the prime Minister's visit. This was the first of planned fleet of five each having a size of 6,000 tonnes. It will have a single-shaft nuclear power plant, build indigenously. It is said to have 9,400 tons displacement when submerged. The submarine is 124 meters long.

After the designs prepared by BARC failed to click, India secured reactor designs from Russia. The reactor, nicknamed "baby boomer" was first tested five years ago.

A long-running secret project, India's nuclear-powered submarine is a 6,000-tonne modified version of the Russian Charlie-II class vessel sources said.

Started in the 1970s, the project was to have a miniaturised nuclear reactor, for which Russia agreed to offer technical help. The 100MW electrical reactor is said to use highly enriched uranium.

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