Cruise Missile Submarine, INS Arihant ready to fire Nirbhay
This is a interesting development of test firing the long range low flying sub sonic cruise missiles from the strategic missile submarine INS Arihant. the Arihant is the lead vehicle of advanced technology vessel to build and study about future submarines powered by nuclear reactor. at first Arihant was planned as a attack submarine, used to provide defense to the carrier fleet from underwater threats. after the nuclear test in 1998, The Navy and Strategic forces command converts it into a Ballistic missile submarine by developing varieties of short sized ballistic missiles to fit inside the Submarine's vertical launch tubes.
And now the Arihant submarine tasked to demonstrate another capability. by firing the long range Nirbhay cruise missile. however still some doubts, can this missilefired from the Vertical launch systems or the Submarines torpedo's tube. and Analysts thinks that Nirbhay could be fired from the VLS tubes. since it's sleek in design and more shorter than the Kalam missiles. So far the Nirbhay missile was test fired from land based test ranges two times. the first launch failed due to the problem in the onbaord computers. and in second test launch, and it performed more than the expected parameters.
The Arihant has four L&T developed VLS cells, each cell can fire single K 4 missile, the K designated the Indian Missile man Kalam's name, who is the father of many Indian missile programs. the K 4 is the intermediate range submarine launched ballistic missile with the range of some 3500 kilometers, by carrying a single 2.5 ton nuke warhead. due to the short length and fat in size, the VLS can hold only one missile in it cell, means the Arihant can carry four K 4 missiles in each of the VLS Cell. there is a MIRV variant of K 4 already in development stage.
The K 15 is less fatty compared to the K 4, however shorter in range and payload is just one ton nuclear warhead, and the range capped into some 700 kilometer. the L&T developed VLS can hold three K 15 missiles in one launch tube. makes the Arihant can carry twelve short range ballistic missiles. all the K 4 and K 15 already tested many times from underwater pontoon's and achieved the test parameters. further more K 4 already entered in series production to mass deploy in future Arihant class submarine.
|One VLS having 7 Tomahawk missiles|
The US impressed the world, by converting a Ohio class submarine into cruise missile launcher. the US Nuclear powered submarine USS Ohio converted into a Tomahawk missile carrier. the USS Ohio can fire 24 Trident II SLBM from it's 24 VLS Cells. and the converted VLS cells can also launch the Tomahawk missiles. each VLS can hold seven Tomahawks makes one USS Ohio can able to fire a barrage of 154 missiles in one run. making one of the best fire power submarine in the world.that's what India too planning with the Arihant.
Nirbhay is relatively very short and sleek compared to the Kalam missiles. so it's clear each VLS can hold seven Nirbhay missiles. Nirbhay and Tomahawk has same diameter of 0.52 meters. and the Trident SLBM has some 2+ meter's dia,the same goes to K 4. so the calculation makes the count of each VLS by carrying seven Nirbahy make the Arihant can carry 7x4= 28 Nirbhay cruise missiles.
|L&T VLS Launch cell showing three K 15 missile tubes|
Actually the truth is Arihant is 6000 tons full load of Missile submarine. which is just a test vehicle, and the Real Monster is the INS Aridhman. who is the first vessel from the Arihant family who is going to deployed in combat duties. It's already revealed that INS Aridhman is double in size compared to the Arihant. so clearly more VLS tubes and doubles the fire power. as mentioned, the Aridhman can carry eight K 4 missiles or twenty four K 15 missiles or 56 Nirbhay cruise missiles. when compared to the Ohio, which can hold 22 VLS cells compared to the 8 VLS cells in the Arihant.
It's quite good that Indian Navy chooses the Nirbhay as a SLCM. by holding large number of cruise missiles. while Surface ships like latest Kolkata can carry only 16 Barhmos for Anti shipping or Land attack roles. so sending a SSGN with the Indian Navy flotilla makes more fire power with the large number of long range cruise missiles. making the enemy land targets razed by saturation of missile attack from the SSGN. like how the Americans dominate the world by sailing the silent deadly SSGN's around the world.
The decision looks good by fielding cruise missiles in the Submarines. India plans to build three to four Arihant class vessels. making one of the best second strike capability against any powerful Nations. however maintaining such Submarines can ruin the Navy's budget. It's quite good if one SSBN can comes under the SFC for nuke launches with Kalam missiles. and three other can comes with the SSGN capability.
As a jaw dropping news, INS Aridhman already constructed and reportedly in the sea conducting some trails. however details regarding the Strategic missile submarine programs kept secret.