My usually reliable source was misinformed about the dateline of the Arihant going out on sea trials, but by about only three-quarters of a day! — whence this blog was originally posted late morning yesterday (Dec 15). It turned out the SSBN got going in the early afternoon. The Strategic Forces Command controlling this asset received the message from the Commander Arihant — ‘Underway on nuclear power’!
An important thing to note is that other than an ASW helicopter it had no escort vessels, leading one to believe that because the Arihant is built on modular design as per other Russian nuclear-powered submersibles, the forward compartment, able to accommodate the entire crew and equipped with survival materials for eight hours, can be detached from the rest of the body in case of mishap or gravest emergency and float to the top.
The original blog:
The 1st of the Arihant-class SSBNs after long and thorough harbor trials, and with its 80MW nuclear power plant going critical a couple of months back, will now head out to sea from Vizag tomorrow, December 16, 2014. It will be put though its paces and will pull a list of manoeuvres to see how the boat behaves. A real big feather in the cap for the private sector Larsen & Toubro Company, which built this submarine. The expectation in naval circles is high that these should go off well, preparing the vessel for induction into the fleet by Autumn-Winter 2015. It will finally afford the country, other than the Agni-5, with genuine strategic options. Underway Arihant!