Indian Nuclear Submarine Ready, Awaiting Sea Trials

Global Security Newswire Staff

On Saturday, the reactor on the first nuclear submarine to be designed and manufactured entirely in India was switched on, BBC News reported.

The submarine, known as the INS Arihant, is the first submarine capable of  launching ballistic missiles to be developed outside of the five recognized nuclear weapons states -- the United States, Russia, China, France and Great Britain. In the next step of testing, the submarine will begin sea trials, the BBC reported.

India in April 2012 activated the nuclear reactor on a Russian-built submarine being leased over a 10-year period, to help prepare crews to operate the domestically built vessel.

If the sea trials go well, according to a BBC reporter, the submarine could be ready for deployment as early as two years from now. However, last December, the Indian navy voiced a desire to have the submarine operational by the end of this year.

The submersible is expected to provide the South Asian nation with three ballistic-missile launching options: land, air and now sea.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the Indian-developed Prithvi-II missile -- which has an overall range of 220 miles and is nuclear-capable -- underwent a successful test-launch, according to the Press Trust of India.