In News: The Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that the indigenous Strategic Strike Nuclear Submarine INS Arihant had successfully launched a nuclear capable Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) in the Bay of Bengal with “very high accuracy”.
About INS Arihant:
- It is India’s first indigenous nuclear powered ballistic missile capable submarine.
- Launched in 2009 and Commissioned in 2016, it is built under the secretive Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project.
- INS Arihant and its class of submarines are classified as ‘SSBN’, which is the hull classification symbol for nuclear powered ballistic missile carrying submarines.
- INS Arihant can carry a dozen K-15 missiles on board.
- While the Navy operates the vessel, the operations of the SLBMs from the SSBN are under the purview of India’s Strategic Forces Command, which is part of India’s Nuclear Command Authority.
- In November 2019, after INS Arihant completed its first deterrence patrol, the government announced the establishment of India’s “survivable nuclear triad” — the capability of launching nuclear strikes from land, air and sea platforms.
- The second submarine in the Arihant class is SSBN Arighat which was launched in 2017.
- In addition, India operates 15 conventional diesel electric submarines (classified as SSK), and some more are on the way.
- The Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs), sometimes called the ‘K’ family of missiles, have been indigenously developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
- The family is codenamed after Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the centre figure in India’s missile and space programmes who also served as the 11th President of India.
- Because these missiles are to be launched from submarines, they are lighter, more compact and stealthier than their land-based counterparts, the Agni series of missiles which are medium and intercontinental range nuclear capable ballistic assets.
- Part of the K family is the SLBM K-15, which is also called B-05 or Sagarika. It has a range of 750 km.
- India has also developed and successfully tested K-4 missiles from the family, which have a range of 3,500 km.
- The tests conducted were a key step towards ultimately deploying K-4s on the INS Arihant.
- It is also reported that more members of K-family — reportedly carrying the code names K-5 and K-6, with a range of 5,000 km and 6,000 km respectively — are under development.
The Strategic Significance:
- The successful user training launch of the SLBM by INS Arihant is significant to prove crew competency and validate the SSBN programme.
- A robust, survivable and assured retaliatory capability is in keeping with India’s ‘no first use’ commitment.
- These submarines can not only survive a first strike by the adversary, but can also launch a strike in retaliation, thus achieving ‘Credible Nuclear Deterrence’.
- The development of these capabilities is important in the light of India’s relations with China and Pakistan.
- China: The PLA Navy currently operates 6 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) and 46 diesel-powered attack submarines (SSs).
- Pakistan: It Navy operates 5 diesel-electric submarines and 3 mini submarines of under 150 tonne displacement.
Source: Indian Express
Previous Year Question
Q.1) Which one of the following is the best description of ‘INS Astradharini’, that was in the news recently?(2016)
- Amphibious warfare ship
- Nuclear-powered submarine
- Torpedo launch and recovery vessel
- Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier