Chakra III: Akula Class Nuclear-powered submarine
- Chakra III is an Akula-II class advanced nuclear-powered attack submarine. (SSN)
- Chakra I and Chakra II were inducted into Indian Navy in 1988 and 2012 respectively.
- It has an advanced weapon launching system capable of firing tube-launched cruise missiles.
- The communication systems, onboard electronics and tactical Sonars to be fitted in Chakra III will be indigenously built.
In brief: Nuclear-powered submarines
- Nuclear submarines can be classified in to 2 categories namely SSN and SSBN
- SSN: (Submersible Ship Nuclear)
- SSNs are attack submarines
- They are propelled by nuclear power.
- They are capable of launching conventional weapons like torpedoes and cruise missiles
- SSBN: (Submersible Ship Ballistic Nuclear)
- SSBNs are also propelled by nuclear power.
- They are usually equipped with nuclear weapons like ballistic missiles.
- Therefore, they are usually used as deterrents and not as attack submarines.
Nuclear-powered submarine fleet of India
- Chakra I
- The first nuclear-powered submarine to be inducted to Indian Navy was Chakra I.
- Chakra II
- It is the second nuclear submarine to be inducted into Indian Navy.
- It was inducted in 2012 for a 10-year lease period, which is now being extended to another 5 years till 2027.
- It is an advanced version of Chakra I, capable of operating at higher speed and greater depth, and has a more advanced weapon system.
- Chakra II is deployed with the Eastern Naval Command.
- Project 75-I
- India also plans to develop 6 nuclear powered submarines SSNs as a part of Project 75 I.
- Project 75 I is an indigenous submarine building plan under which 24 submarines, 6 nuclear-powered and 18 conventional Scorpene class submarines will be built by 2030.
Significance of SSN
- Since India has 2 operational theatres – one in west and other in east -, we require higher force levels if we are to use conventional submarines.
- SSNs can cover twice the area of influence of a conventional submarine.
- This is because of higher operational time due to on-board nuclear reactors.
- It is more mobile, has higher reach than conventional submarine.
- They are capable of launching cruise missiles up to 200 km.
- Thus, SSN fleet is significant in reducing the force levels required for Indian Navy.
- SSNs can blockade important sea routes for enemy ships.
- They can successfully defend Carrier Strike Groups with its ability to stay deep in the water for long period and being capable of launching attacks.
- Under the Advanced Technology Vehicle programme, India has indigenously-built Arihant, SSBN.
- INS Arihant is India’s first nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine.
- It was inducted in 2016 marking the Nuclear Triad capability of India.
- INS Arihant is capable of launching K-15 Missile with a range of 750 km and K-4 ICBM with a range of 3,500 km.
- Being capable of launching nuclear weapons, Arihant provides a truly deterrent second strike capability in accordance with India’s nuclear doctrine of ‘No First Use’.