A rihant is the most important platform within India’s nuclear triad covering land-air-sea modes,” the Hindu reports. Well, it’s important if it works — and it probably helps to make your submarine watertight.
The modern submarine is not a simple machine. A loss of propulsion, unexpected flooding, or trouble with reactors or weapons can doom a sub crew to a watery grave.
Call it a lesson learned for the Indian navy, which managed to put the country’s first nuclear-missile submarine, the $2.9 billion INS Arihant, out of commission in the most boneheaded way possible.The Hindu reported yesterday that the Arihant has been out of commission since suffering “major damage” some 10 months ago, due to what a navy source characterized as a “human error” — to wit: allowing water to flood to sub’s propulsion compartment after failing to secure one of the vessel’s external hatches.
The incident is also quite an embarrassment — and strategic concern — for the Indian Armed Forces. A Russian Akula-class attack sub modified to accommodate a variety of ballistic missiles, the Arihant represented a major advance in India’s nuclear triad after its completion in October 2016.