Russia offers to Jointly develop Nuclear Attack Submarines with India

Russian shipbuilders have offered to help India, design and develop jointly countries first Generation class of Nuclear Attack Submarines to be developed locally in India. A government of India has approved in recent years, the Indian Navy’s proposal to develop Six Attack nuclear Submarines and the project is at an advanced stage of the design phase.

Russians have made it a conditional offer and have linked their offer, only if India agrees for a government to government deal for procurement of Six next Generation conventional submarines under Project-75I project instead of the current open tender where already four foreign vendors have submitted their offer for the submarine already to India.

The Amur-class submarine (named for the Amur River), is one of the latest Russian submarine designs. It is advertised as an export version of the Lada-class, a modernised version of the Kilo-class submarine with improved acoustic stealth, new combat systems, and an option for air-independent propulsion (AIP).

These submarines are distinguished by the capability of firing up to 6 missiles simultaneously against sea and coastal targets, state-of-the-art electronic warfare systems and a sonar with a unique passive antenna to detect silent targets at a large range. Acoustic signature of the Amur 1650 submarine is several times lower compared to Kilo class submarines which are currently considered to be the most silent in the world.

The new vessels are the fourth generation of the Kilo submarine family, with two models developed.

India operates Sindhughosh Class Submarines which are based on Kilo class submarines. Indian Navy has lot of experience in operating and maintaining Russian origin submarines.

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Rubin also plans to assist India in the creation of air-independent power plant for Amur-1650 in the framework of 75I tender. “We are sure that the Indian Navy would work to install its own power plant. We are ready to help integrate the Indian plant or assist in its creation of AIP

An AIP arrangement is essential for modern, quiet-running conventional submarine designs. Combined with improved batteries, these systems can provide nuclear sub-like power and noise reduction in a significantly cheaper and more compact package. Advanced derivatives may actually be quieter than their nuclear counterparts while still able to stay submerged for weeks at a time, both critical elements to avoiding detection.

India ultimately hopes to have an undersea fleet of 18 front line conventional attack submarines, another six nuclear-powered attack submarines, and four nuclear ballistic missile submarines. This would be a significant threat to long-standing enemy Pakistan and its five submarines. However, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy, with dozens of subs of various types, would still dwarf the Indian contingent.

The Government of India approved the construction of six new nuclear powered attack submarines (SSN) in February 2015.

SSN will be of Arihant’s size, but designing and building it will be far more challenging as both platforms have different tasks. An SSBN like the Arihant is a stealth underwater bomber ready to launch nuclear-tipped missiles at an adversary. Its reactor needs to deliver steady speeds as it prowls undetected.

An SSN, on the other hand, is like a fighter jet. It needs a high-performance nuclear reactor which delivers tremendous speed with rapid acceleration and deceleration. It needs a reactor that can perform multiple tasks such as pursuing enemy warships and striking land targets. Opinion seems to be divided regarding the type of reactor that will power the SSN.

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SSNs are as important as SSBNs as they can blockade important sea routes, denying the enemy access to important resources in an event of war, and shadow enemy ships.SSN submarine have to defend the Carrier Groups , have to stay deep in the water, to search both underwater and surface targets, chase enemy subs, launching attacks, and many other combat duties, India has the technology of constructing missile submarines, Arihant is an good example, of course Russians helped in several key issues to achieve victory in the ATV program.

Russia in past has provided assistance to the Advanced Technology Vessel Project under which Arihant Class nuclear Ballistic missile submarines were developed by India, Current offer on Nuclear Attack Submarine Joint venture is much more in detail and is not limited to only design and component level consultation like in the past and involves sharing of more advanced technologies and direct input in submarine design and development as per media reports.