India's first nuclear armed submarine INS Arihant is now ready for full fledged operations, according to Navy sources. It has passed several deep sea diving drills as well as weapons launch tests over the past five months.
According to a report in Economic Times, the indigenously-built boat is now fully-operational and over the past few months, several weapon tests have taken place in secrecy that have proven the capabilities of the vessel.
INS Arihant is first of the five in the class of submarines designed and constructed as a part of Indian Navy’s Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project.
The 6,000-ton vessel was built at the Ship Building Centre in the port city of Visakhapatnam and it was revealed for the first time in 2009.
The Arihant, which is the first of five nuclear missile submarines or SSBNs planned for induction, has also undergone deep sea dives off Vishakhapatnam where it was built.
A Russian diving support ship —the RFS Epron that arrived on October 1 — has been accompanying the Arihant on its deep sea dives and launch tests.
The Epron — a Prut class submarine rescue vessel — was also the Russian representation for the recently concluded International Fleet Review (IFR) in Vishakhapatnam.
India does not currently possess a submarine rescue vessel of this class, a vital requirement during weapon firing tests where all possibilities need to be catered for.