Submarines: Indian Nukes

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October 1, 2007: Since India finally announced, last month, that it had been working on a nuclear submarine for decades, more details have emerged. The sub is being called the ATV (Advanced Technology Vessel) class. There are to be five boats in the class, assuming that the first one works well. That first ATV SSN (nuclear attack sub) is not expected to enter service for at least another 3-5 years. Meanwhile, India will be taking possession of a leased Russian Akula SSN next year. Two years ago, India arranged to lease two Akula IIs, for several million dollars a month per sub. It has apparently taken this long to train the crews. The 7,000 ton Akula IIs are recently built, and have a crew of 51.

The ATV will be a 5,000 ton boat, and comparisons are being made to the new Chinese 093 (Shang) class (PHOTO), which is a 6,000 ton boat that just entered service last year, after more than a decade of construction. That was China''s second class of SSNs. The first, the Han class, was a disaster. India is trying to learn from Chinas mistakes. That's one reason the ATV project has been kept so secret. Another reason for the secrecy was that so much of the ATV project involved developing a compact, light water reactor technology that would fit in a submarine. One of these Indian reactors is being installed in a 5,000 ton Charlie II class submarine that was purchased from Russia. This boat will be ready for sea trails next year. If that goes well, the reactor will be installed in the first ATV.

Once the ATV SSN is proven, a modified version will be built as a SSBN (ballistic missile carrying sub). This was how everyone else did it, including the Chinese. Get an SSN operational, then modify the design to include some SLBM launch tubes.


 


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