The Indian Navy’s first indigenously-developed nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) INS Arihant completed its first deterrence patrol, India’s prime minister announced on Monday.
The SSBN’s feat was welcomed by the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi who congratulated all those involved, “especially the crew of INS Arihant for this accomplishment, which will always be remembered in our history.”
Modi also noted that the event was historic because it marked the completion of the Indian nuclear triad. Specific details about the duration or the operational area of the submarine’s patrol were not revealed.
“The success of INS Arihant enhances India’s security needs,” Modi commented. “It is a major achievement for our entire nation. True to its name, INS Arihant will protect the 130 crore Indians from external threats and contribute to the atmosphere of peace in the region.”
INS Arihant is India’s first nuclear-powered ballistic submarine with a design that is reportedly based on the Akula-class submarine. Arihant was launched in 2009 and quietly entered service in August 2016, after several delays.
The 6000-ton submarine carries the K-15 “Sagarika” short-range ballistic missiles while work on integrating and testing the intermediate range K-4 SLBM is reportedly still underway.
According to Indian media reports from January this year, the submarine spent 10 months out of service sometime in 2017 after suffering damages following a procedural misstep in which the submarine’s hatch was accidentally left open and water entered the submarine’s nuclear propulsion compartment.