HomeAatmanirbhar Bharat#Revealed: Satellite Image unveils India's Latest SSBN, the S4 of the Arihant...

#Revealed: Satellite Image unveils India’s Latest SSBN, the S4 of the Arihant class Nuclear-powered Ballistic Missile Submarines

Source : IgMp Bureau

#Revealed: Satellite Image unveils India's Latest SSBN, the S4 of the Arihant class Nuclear-powered Ballistic Missile Submarines
S4 SSBN (Arihant class) at a manufacturing dock in Hindustan Shipyard Limited facility [Image Credit : DFI Lite/X @DfIlite]

A recent satellite image has brought to light India’s newest addition to its nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) fleet, currently in the production phase. The S4, belonging to the advanced Arihant class, is undergoing construction with notable enhancements compared to its predecessors, the S2 and S3 vessels.

With plans for a total of four Arihant-class SSBNs, India solidifies its sea-based nuclear deterrent force. This endeavor is complemented by substantial investments in command and control infrastructure, featuring long-range communication systems, fortified bases, and requisite support vessels. Analysts perceive India’s pursuit of a nuclear triad as a strategic move in line with conventional nuclear warfare principles, as articulated by international defense expert Richard Sterk.

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Code-named S4, the third Arihant-class SSBN silently commenced its assembly in Visakhapatnam during the latter part of November 2022. While official confirmation is awaited, analysis of the disclosed satellite imagery hints at the submarine’s capability to accommodate either 24 K-15 missiles with a range of 1,000 km or 8 K-4 missiles reaching 3,500 km.

Although neither the Ministry of Defence nor the Indian Navy has officially endorsed these speculations, insider sources within the navy and the Ship Building Centre (SBC) in Visakhapatnam, the construction site for India’s nuclear submarines, affirm them. Reports initially surfaced via Janes Defence Weekly, attributing the revelation to satellite surveillance.

Management of the SSBN program, from construction to commissioning and testing, falls under the purview of the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) or the Strategic Nuclear Command (SNC), overseen by the Prime Ministerโ€™s Office (PMO). While acknowledging the launch, a senior naval officer clarifies that the submerged hull of a submarine merely marks the initial step, with extensive sea trials, weapon assessments, and formal commissioning processes yet to unfold.

The inauguration of the first SSBN in the series, INS Arihant (S2), was a momentous occasion, celebrated with great enthusiasm upon its launch on July 26, 2009. As India continues to expand its maritime nuclear capabilities, the unveiling of the S4 submarine underscores the nation’s commitment to bolstering its defense infrastructure and maintaining strategic deterrence.

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