Ari­hant heads for sea tri­als this year

SP's MAI - - SP’S EXCLUSIVES -

In­dia’s first nu­clear sub­ma­rine, the Ari­hant, will en­ter a phase of sea tri­als this year, the DRDO’s new chief Dr Av­inash Chan­der has said, ex­press­ing con­fi­dence that there would be no more delays in the land­mark ef­fort. The sub­ma­rine is cur­rently in an ex­tended phase of har­bour and sys­tems tri­als. The boat’s pres­sure wa­ter nu­clear re­ac­tor is yet to be tested, and this could take a few more months be­fore sci- en­tists and engi­neers at the Ship­build­ing Cen­tre (SBC) in Visakha­p­at­nam achieve the con­fi­dence lev­els re­quired to put the Ari­hant out to sea for con­fir­ma­tory sea tri­als.

In Au­gust last year, then Navy Chief Ad­mi­ral Nir­mal Verma had said, “We’re pretty close to putting her to sea. In sub­ma­rine de­sign, there’s an el­e­ment of un­pre­dictablity. It’s a hugely com­plex ex­er­cise. Some­times, un­ex­pected prob­lems do come up. But I can say that in the next few months, she’ll be ready for sea tri­als.” Since that time, cer­tain hic­cups have cropped up, slow­ing down progress to­wards sea tri­als. A sec­ond hull has al­ready been fab­ri­cated by L&T in Gu­jarat and is to be the sec­ond of the Ari­hant class of sub­marines for what will be a to­tal fleet strength of at least three SSBNs.

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