Source – Swarajya
India will induct its second ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) Arighat early next year, a report in the Times of India says.
Arighat, launched in 2017, has been undergoing extensive trials for some time and will be inducted in the next few months.
Like INS Arihant, India’s only operational SSBN currently, the 6,000-tonne Arighat is capable of carrying 12 K-15 Sagarika missiles, which have a range of 750 km, or four 3,500 km range K-4 missiles.
India’s third SSBN, “S4”, was launched in 2021, and the fourth, identified as S4*, is currently under construction at Visakhapatnam.
Satellite imagery has confirmed the reports of the S4 being slightly larger than INS Arihant and Arighat. The length of the boat could have been increased to make space for additional tubes for nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. While INS Arihant has four vertical-launch missile tubes, the S-4 is reported to have at least eight tubes for nuclear missiles.
Consequently, S-4 will be able to carry eight K-4 SLBMs and 24 K-15 SLBMs, reportedly twice of what INS Arihant can be equipped with.
While the K-15 missile has a range of around 750 kilometres, the K-4 can strike targets up to a distance of 3,500 kilometres. The addition of the K-4 missile to India’s nukes delivery arsenal will allow India’s SSBNs in the northern Bay of Bengal to target some parts of China.
India is also working on a new series of SSBNs, which will be significantly more capable than the ones built before. The project is currently in the design phase. Identified as S-5, this new type of submarine will have a displacement of 13,500 tonnes, which is twice that of the Arihant-class boats, and capable of carrying 12 long-range nuclear-tipped missiles.
The government has also approved the programme for the construction of nuclear-powered attack submarines or SSNs.
Unlike the SSBNs, SSNs are armed with missiles carrying conventional warheads instead of nukes. The programme involves the design and construction of six SSNs, each displacing around 6,000 tonnes.