‘N-submarines with missiles offer best second-strike chance’

August 2nd, 2009 - 10:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Kalpakkam (Tamil Nadu), Aug 2 (IANS) Nuclear-powered submarines with capacity to launch ballistic missiles offer the best second-strike capability for a nation, an Indian naval officer said here Sunday.
“It is the only system that offers safe second-strike capability. The normal range of submarine-launched ballistic missiles will be 8,000 km. Compared to land-based missile launch pads, submarines are difficult to detect,” Rear Admiral Michael Moraes, Flag Officer (submarines), told reporters at Kalpakkam, around 45 km from Chennai.

He was participating in the fifth year celebrations held by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre’s (BARC) PRP unit here.

For the first time in its history, the BARC threw open the PRP Centre that developed the nuclear reactor powering India’s first indigenously developed nuclear submarine INS Arihant, launched last week.

India launched its first indigenously developed SSBN INS Arihant last Sunday.

Moraes said the Indian Navy needs around 13 more submarines to beef up its fleet.

“We may need four SSBNs and nine SSNs. Our current submarine fleet strength is 16.”

SSBN denotes submersible ship, with ballistic missile launch capacity and nuclear powered, whereas SSN implies submersible ship, nuclear powered.

The government has already approved the building of four SSBNs.

According to the officer, the commissioning of SSBN INS Arihant will take around two more years as all the systems have to be checked.

He said the nuclear submarine will be manned by a 100-member crew.

“The noise levels in the nuclear submarine are fine and the hull life is around 25 years.”

Queried about the reactor life, he added: “Normally the hull and reactor life would coincide. The reactor will not be dismantled and fitted in another submarine.”

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