Saturday, August 25, 2012

Indian Navy - Comparison of Nuclear Submarine Fleet

Till April 2012, there was an exclusive group of world powers who had nuclear submarines in their fleet. India Navy gatecrashed into this group, by inducting INS Chakra in its fleet, an Akula Class SSN leased from Russia for ten years.

I have compiled a metrics of global powers and their nuclear submarine fleet, to show where Indian Navy is at present and how it would fare in a decade from now. I have intentionally excluded United States and Russian Federation as both of them are way ahead from rest of the navies, in terms of numerical strength of their nuclear submarine fleets.

China 09 05
France 06 04
UK 06 04
India 01 00

Chinese Navy -

China has 9 SSNs in its fleet  - 5 Han Class and 4 Shang Class. It has got 5 SSBNs - 1 Xia Class and 4 Jin Class.

French Navy -

France has 6 SSNs in its fleet from Rubis Class. It has got 4 SSBNs  from Triomphant Class.

Royal Navy (UK) -

UK has 6 SSNs in its fleet - 5 Trafalgar Class and 1 Astute Class. It has got 4 SSBNs  from Vanguard Class.

Indian Navy -

India has 1 SSN in its fleet - INS Chakra from Akula Class. It has got no active SSBNs  as of now.

However, INS Arihant SSBN is under sea trials and is expected to be commissioned by 2013. Three more hulls of Arihant Class are in different stages of construction. So, it is expected that by 2020, India Navy should have a fleet of 4 SSBNs. 

However, things are not that clear on SSN front. It is not known whether Indian Navy has any active SSN develop program, defence sources are tight-lipped on that, and there has been no official confirmation or denial about it. In that case, Indian Navy would need to exercise the option of leasing second Akula Class submarine from Russia. It would become must by 2015-2016, when Indian Navy will have two Carrier Battle Groups in its arsenal, and each would need to have a potent sub-surface escort, in form of a nuclear-powered attack submarine. An ideal scenario would ask for at least 4 SSNs to escort two Carrier Battle Groups.

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