Saturday, June 12, 2010

Indian Navy is Developing Secret Base on East Coast for Nuclear Submarines

The navy is coming up with a secret base on the east coast, under the code name Project Varsha, to berth its upcoming fleet of nuclear submarines.

India’s first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine, INS Arihant, under project Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV), was launched for trials last year at the Visakhapatnam-based ship building centre (SBC). Arihant is still undergoing its criticality certification at the SBC.

The navy has plans to build five more such nuclear-powered submarines at SBC. The defence ministry also took over the Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) in Visakhapatnam last year from the ministry of shipping, so that it could use HSL’s facilities and infrastructure to build the submarines.

The new base, Project Varsha, will have special features to ensure safety of the submarines and the personnel onboard for maintenance. According to a source, the government would be taking the help of some other countries for the huge project as it required special fitments and attachments made of special material.

Located about 200 kilometres around Visakhapatnam at an undisclosed location, the base would be on the lines of the Chinese nuclear submarine base in Hainan island, the source said. The base will have accommodation and other facilities for the officers and men posted onboard.

The base would accommodate other submarines and ships if required, the source said, as a lot of vessels due for induction in the near future were facing space constraint.

Refusing to disclose the cost of the project and whether there would be any special facility for missiles, a source said, “Not sure when it would be ready. It might take time as it’s a special project and meant mainly for nuclear submarines.”

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