In July India launched its long-awaited nuclear-powered submarine, Arihant ("destroyer of enemies"), formerly the more-or-less secret Advanced Technology Vehicle. Her main weapon, the Sagarika medium-rangemissile, had already been tested from a submersible barge and pronounced mature. Work on a nuclear-powered submarine began in 1974, and reportedly the reactor design began in 1985. The hull was fabricated in eight sections by Larsen & Toubro, which makes many Indian weapon launchers (and built the barge for the submerged missile firing); it was assembled at the Visakhapatnam naval dockyard. This is a large submarine, reportedly displacing 9,400 tons submerged (124 meters long), perhaps to provide sufficient buoyancy for a reactor that may weigh 600 tons. The Indians had previously leased the Soviet Charlie-class missile submarine Chakra to gain nuclear experience, and used Russian technical assistance to overcome some problems. The submarine was laid down during 2007 and is to run trials in 2010. Her size suggests that frequent reports that she is little more than a Charlie are wrong; the old Soviet submarine was considerably smaller.
World Naval Developments: A Great Equalizer?
By Norman Friedman