India’s first nuclear missile submarine crippled as sailor leaves hatch openA hatch left open on the INS Arihant lead to saltwater flooding the propulsion area, rendering the $2.9 billion submarine inoperative.The incident was first reported by The Hindu. According to an Indian Navy source, a hatch was left open allowing seawater to rush in. The Arihant issue rose soon after INS Chakra, the Nerpa class nuclear submarine leased from Russia, was reported to have suffered damage to its sonar domes while entering the Visakhapatnam harbour in early October.INS Arihant is to be the first of the expected five in the class of submarines designed and constructed as a part of the Indian Navy’s secretive Advanced Technology Vessel project. The Arihant class submarines are reported to be based on the Akula class submarine.India has an ambitious plan to build a SSBN fleet, comprising five Arihant class vessels.INS Arihant was introduced to the public in 2009 at a symbolic launch ceremony. The launch coincided with the 10th anniversary of the conclusion of the Kargil War and consisted of floating the vessel by flooding the dry dock. Defence Professionals Daily claimed Arihant was launched without key systems including its nuclear reactor, surveillance equipment, and ordnance.Prime Minister Singh billed the submarine as an outcome of a public-private partnership. He also thanked Russia in his address, stating, “I would also like to express our appreciation to our Russian friends for their consistent and invaluable cooperation, which symbolises the close strategic partnership that we enjoy with Russia.”
INS Vikramaditya in Action
India is likely to acquire 10 more Boeing P-8I Poseidon aircraft for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations and for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). Those aircraft would come in addition to the eight aircraft it has already acquired in 2009 for the Navy.The search for the additional ten P8Is cleared its first hurdle today, on June 20, when the Services Capital Acquisition Categorisation Higher Committee (SCAPCHC), headed by the Chief of Integrated Staff or CISC, a senior lieutenant-general and including the three vice chiefs of staff of the three services cleared the proposal of about Rs 22,500 crore ($US 3.2 million).This is only the first step. The deal will have to be cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by defence minister Rajnath Singh and including the three chiefs and the defence secretary and then, by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and including the finance, defence, home and external affairs ministers.The purchase will be through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route, meaning it is a government-to-government deal. It is also a follow-on order. This avoids the lengthy process of bidding and usually, charges of corruption and favouritism. Many large orders have taken the FMS route including very recently, the 145 M-777 light howitzers for the Indian Army and also, the C-130 and C-17 aircraft and the Apache and Chinook helicopters.The Pompeo visit later this month comes at a time when Indo-US defence ties are at a high, primarily after the signing of the COMCASA (Communications, Compatibility and Security Agreement) and a similar logistics agreement earlier.