The Indian SSN Project: An Open Literature Analysis
(1)Since 1971 Indian scientists have been trying to produce a compact nuclear powerplant (reactor) suitable for use in a submarine. That desire was complemented by a plan for uranium enrichment facilities employing centrifuge technology.
(2)As recently pointed out by Eric Arnett some observers have speculated that the purpose of the nuclear submarine program "is intended to provide an invulnerable launching platform for nuclear weapons."
(3)He makes the following further observation concerning the early nature of the program: "The history and implications of SSN's for Indian maritime strategy suggest that the US presence in the Indian Ocean was a stronger motivation for the SSN programme. Furthereven in the 1950's, SSN's were seen by Indian naval planners as a way of establishing presence as far away as Indonesian and Chinese waters."
(4)Even thought mentioned as a second strike weapon for use against Pakistan it is believed that the primary purpose of the nuclear submarine programme is to serve as a deterrent to China.
(5)An analyst at the Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security (CIIPS) has noted : "Analysis of India's defense priorities in the Indian Ocean points to a long-term strategy of meeting a potential Chinese incursion into the Indian Ocean at the key check points in the east - the Strait of Malacca. An assessment of India's maritime force structure reveals that New Delhi is seeking to attain a sea-denial capability in the Indian Ocean.
(6)It was recently pointed out that even thought India has no territorial claims on ASEAN territory, it does have border disputes with China on its northern borders. Any naval confrontation between the two would most certainly involve the use of submarines.
(7)As part of the price for becoming a member of ASEAN and participating in further Asian-Europe summits pressure has been exerted upon India to drop plans for development of a nuclear submarine capability. This pressure has been supported by the members of the European Union.
This report will attempt to provide both technical and political details of the events and activities surrounding the nuclear-powered submarine project or as it is more commonly known the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV). Advanced conventional alternatives will also be briefly discussed.
(8)"In 1963 the Indian government approved the creation of a submarine force for the Indian Navy. This decision, which again seems at odds with the general strategic challenge facing India in 1963, rested on assessments prepared by the Indian Navy of naval forces operating as far afield as China and Indonesia."
"In India, it was initially hoped that submarines would be available as part of the Western military assistance package. In 1963, India requested submarines of recent design from the United Kingdom. However, it was offered only the loan of a World War II vintage vessel then being used as a target submarine for fleet training. The vessel had actually outlived even this function and was shortly due to be scrapped. India subsequently investigated Soviet attitudes towards supplying naval vessels. In August 1964 Defense Minister Chavan announced an agreement in principle to buy six submarines from the Soviet Union. The contract to buy the submarines was signed in November 1964."
"An Indian delegation visited the Soviet Union in August/September 1965 to finalize the financial and technical aspects of this deal and to discuss the transfer of Soviet coastal defense vessels. Payment for the submarines was to be in rupees, while new facilities would be constructed for the replenishment, repair and maintenance of Soviet submarines. facilities for the repair and maintenance of Soviet vessels were established at the Garden Reach workshops in Calcutta."
(9)"In December 1968 the arrival of submarines of Soviet origin was announced as part of a new plan for naval expansion and modernization by Chief of Naval Staff Admiral A.K. Chatterji. The decision to buy 6 Foxtrot Class submarines from the Soviet Union was a new departure in naval strategy which indicated the pattern of Indian naval thinking, particularly as it related to technology change. Chatterji was one influential voice arguing that the growing vulnerability of surface ships inevitably led to the development of submarines and air forces. Chatterji was also of the belief that India should seek to build nuclear-powered submarines by the late 1980's."
(10)"The delivery of INS Chakra, a Soviet produced Charlie Class nuclear-powered submarine (SSN), to India in January 1988 was one development that has focused increased attention on Indian naval programmes. While India has operated a submarine fleet since the late 1960's, this development has been interpreted as a major change in Indian capabilities and evidence of India's intention to develop its naval superiority among the countries around the Indian ocean."
"The origins of the SSN programme reach back almost twenty years. As noted earlier, the purchase of an SSN fleet was an option discussed in the mid 1960's but dismissed as unrealistic. However, the discussion concluded that in the long term India should aim to build submarines, but that in the immediate future that would not be possible. The discussion included the possibility that India would at some point want to build a nuclear-propelled submarine, euphemistically called the 'advanced-technology vessel'. In December 1983, answering questions in the Indian Parliament, Defense Minister Venkataraman said: I have already said that we keep our options in this matter, if necessary we will go in for it. But then a nuclear-powered submarine is different from the nuclear submarine with nuclear warheads. I have already said that we are not going to use atomic energy for anything but peaceful purposes. Therefore, we will use it for power.... it will be only for propulsion."
"The shipbuilding expertise, shore-based support facilities and the manpower needed to build and operate nuclear submarines could not be acquired quickly. The Soviet Union was apparently reluctant to transfer either nuclear-powered submarines themselves or the technology required for their construction in India. In 1980 and 1982 the only submarines offered seem to have been refurbished Foxtrot Class. As a result, India began evaluating possible alternative conventionally powered submarines to replace the Foxtrot submarines in service. At this point it was already decided that at least some units of the design which was chosen would be built in India, and that the ultimate objective of producing nuclear-powered submarines would not be sacrificed. From the mid 1970's, a number of submarine designs were under consideration from Western Europe and the Soviet Union. European countries involved were France, the FRG, Italy, The Netherlands and Sweden, with the FRG and Sweden the clearly favoured options by 1980."
"Indian officials were looking for a design which could offer a chance to learn the production and operating skills relevant to nuclear-powered submarines. The Type-209 design offered by the West German company HDW met some of these criteria. In 1981 HDW won the order based a 'stretched' and heavier version of the Type-209 weighing 1500 tonnes (and consequently designated the Type-1500). West Germany also gained an advantage in negotiations by offering as a package a new generation of torpedoes supplied by the West German company AEG. The initial order covered the sale of two submarines to be built in Kiel and included an option to produce up to four subsequently in India. The signature of the contract was held up, as officials in the FRG were unhappy about a clause in the contract, insisted upon by India, which would guarantee deliveries of spare parts in wartime. However, the option on the production of the submarines at Mazagon Docks in Bombay was exercised in December 1981. Construction began in early 1982 and the West German-built vessels were delivered in 1986-7. production of the submarines has run into problems, finally getting underway in 1984, and delivery of the first of these (originally expected in 1988) was delayed until 1991."
(11)"India's first indigenously-constructed diesel-electric submarine, the INS Shalki, a license-produced Type 209 Class 1500, was commissioned on 7 February, 25 years after the Navy established the first submarine squadron. The Shalki was built at the East Yard of Mazagon Dock Ltd. (MDL). Construction stated in 1984, and it was launched in September 1989."
"Fabrication of the Shalki taxed MDL's capabilities to the limit, resulting in a 20 per cent cost over-run, and delivery of the submarine was 15 months late, according to P.K. Mukherjee, general manager of MDL's East Yard. The Shalki has cost the Indian navy some Rs1.8 billion ($450 million)."
"Unlike many other technology transfer projects involving the construction of submarines to Western designs, the Shalki was fabricated entirely in India, and was not simply assembled from partially outfitted hull sections or "work packages" supplied by a Western shipyard. Raw materials such as high-strength HY-80 steel and pipes were imported but were cut, formed and welded in India."
"With the commissioning of the Shalki, India now has a fleet of 18 diesel-electric submarines - seven elderly Foxtrots, eight modern Kilo-class built in the Soviet Union, and three Type 209 Class 1500's. One of India's more elderly Foxtrots, the INS Khanderi, has now been decommissioned, but the navy plans to rely on the more modern Foxtrot-types in its inventory - the Vela class - for several years yet, during which time the overall number of submarines in India's inventory will decrease."
"India now has three submarine squadrons under the Western Naval Command and two under the Eastern Naval Command. The remaining Type 209 Class 1500 being built in India, The INS Shankul, is expected to be launched by the end of the first quarter of 1992 and to be commissioned in 1993. Two earlier Type 209's, the Shishumar and the Shankush were purchased direct from Germany. Two more Type 209's to have been built in India were cancelled."
Allegations of kickbacks have surfaced. It has been alleged that Indian officials accepted kickbacks from the German company HDW.
"Thus the cost of establishing a submarine-building facility in India - some Rs440 million ($110 million) - is likely to have been amortized over the cost of just two submarines, until such time as the Indian navy commences work on its next generation of submarine. This is likely to be an Indian design, quite possibly a nuclear submarine according to Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas, chief of the Indian naval staff, who has announced publicly that the navy is working on the design of a nuclear powerplant. Such a design is, however, unlikely to be ready until the year 2000."
(12)"In early 1984 there were reports of discussions with the Soviet Union on the supply of more advanced, possibly nuclear-powered, vessels and the training of Indian crews in the Soviet Union. By late 1984, the Soviet Union was apparently prepared to offer India submarines of more modern design in considerable numbers. Vice Admiral Tahiliani, then Vice Chief of Naval Staff, took a leading role in talks in Moscow in September 1984, after which official sources stated that the defense relationship had taken on 'a new dimension'. This has subsequently been interpreted to have meant that the Soviet Union agreed not only to supply more modern types of conventional submarine, but also to allow India access to nuclear-powered submarines. The formal agreement to lease a nuclear-powered submarine from the Soviet Union was signed in 1985."
"In mid 1987 reports began to surface about Indian negotiations with the Soviet Union to transfer one or more nuclear submarines. Indian sources indicated that India had started a nuclear submarine reactor program of its own at BARC a decade before but with unsatisfactory results. Consequently, India decided to import the capability from the Soviet Union, initially in the form of Soviet nuclear-powered submarines, with Indian personal already in training in the Soviet Union to handle the equipment. In early January 1988, All-India Radio announced that the Soviet Union had 'leased' a nuclear-powered submarine to India with India taking delivery in the Soviet port of Vladivostok."
"By selling reactor technology to India, the Soviet Union may get a foothold in a strategically sensitive Indian domain. This would be particularly so if along with a supply of power reactors, the Soviet Union also provided technical and design assistance to make Indian production of its own submarine reactors feasible. The lease of SSN's would give India early operating experience with such reactors. The 'lease' arrangement may be a convenient way of guaranteeing return to the Soviet Union of the submarine reactor fuel. At the same time, other motives may be part of the appeal of this arrangement. The price that India is paying to lease these submarines is considerable (estimated Rs3,000 crores for 4 to 5 submarines). Moreover, as India Today (31 December 1987) speculates Soviet nuclear-powered submarines operated by India in the Indian Ocean could complicate US Naval surveillance of Soviet submarines in that region.
(13)The Los Angeles Times published an article in February 1988 in which western analysts contradict many of the claims made by the Indian navy concerning the submarine lease. The Indian navy first claimed that the submarine was an old Victor I class, but western analysts said published photographs clearly identify the Chakra as a Charlie class designed to carry eight cruise missiles.
The article further states that Pakistan reacted to the lease by trying to purchase Canadian hybrid nuclear powered submarines.
The offical US government response has been one of concern. However military analysts have voiced a different view. According to one "India wants to take over the mantle of the British raj. They are buidling a big modern navy. It is natural that they would consider nuclear propulsion."
"The 1988 submarine deal has ended and future procurement of nuclear-powered submarines appear unlikely. A number of reports have surfaced that India had taken delivery of a second Soviet SSN as a replacement for the first submarine. (14)Reports have appeared that radiation problems on the submarine were responsible for the death of one Indian scientist on board the submarine. These radiation problems may have been the main cause of the cancellation of the contract with the Soviet Union. The nuclear submarine leased from the Soviet Union has been returned, probably to save the annual cost of the lease, which amounts to Rs120 crores."
"The plan to develop an SSN force in India has not run smoothly, and highlights the enormous technological barriers for a developing country in operating this kind of system. To begin with, the shore-based facilities needed for nuclear submarines are significantly more complex than those for conventional submarines because of the need for reactor maintenance. There is currently no harbour facility in India capable of handling radioactive materials, and the submarine reactor is shut down when the vessel is in port. India has built a Soviet-designed facility called the Special Safety Service at Vishakhapatnam, designed to monitor the health of people working on the INS Chakra and detect any radiation leak emanating from the submarine."
"In 1988 it appeared that the Indian navy had reached a plateau in terms of new orders for naval vessels. Existing contracts will lead to further deliveries over the next few years. However, the existing focus seems to be on integrating the new equipment into the Navy. This has been explicitly elaborated by the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Nadkarni, who has stressed in interviews that while such long-term goals as the creation of a third fleet remain on the agenda, there is no prospect that these will be pursued in the immediate future."
"Continued acquisition and development of a nuclear submarine capability is further evidence of India's intention to develop its naval superiority further among the countries around the Indian Ocean."
(15)In early 1996 the ATV project was reported to be frozen. Pressure from the United States and financial problems facing the Indian navy were reported as the main reason for the freeze.
(16)As previously stated in the introduction it has been reported that ASEAN wants India to stop work on the ATV as a condition for entry into ASEAN and for India to be invited to future Asia-Europe summits. The European Union is also behind the demands put up by ASEAN. These terms were shared with the Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee during the recent visit to New Delhi by European Union foreign ministers.
(17)By mid 1996 India had already spent $285.7 million to develop a nuclear submarine. DRDO officials have estimated that the submarine will be completed in five years and will require an additional $714.3 million in financing to complete the project.
(18)DRDO is also reportedly seeking design assistance from former engineers and defense workers of the former Soviet Union. Several Russian naval engineers are reported to have been in India since 1991.
(19)Jane's Fighting Ships 1995-1996 Edition provides the following description of the nuclear powered submarine project:
"The ex-Soviet Charlie class nuclear-powered submarine Chakra was leased for three years from January 1988. The lease was not extended and she returned to Vladivostock in January 1991. Although interest is still being taken in buying a modern SSN from Russia, the preferred plan now is to build a nuclear-propelled submarine in India. For this purpose there is an R&D project called the Advanced Technology Vessel which is reasonably well funded and has facilities in Delhi, Hyderabad, Vishakapatnam and Kalpakkam. A Navy-Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) runs the project and since the mid-1980's has had a Vice Admiral in charge. The submarine will be a development of a Russian design with an Indian PWR. The nuclear propulsion system has been tested ashore. This project has priority over the new aircraft carrier and is running to time. A 2500 ton submarine is planned to be laid down in 1997 with Russian assistance. The plan is for a class of five fitted with Sagarika cruise missiles."
(20)Richard Sharpe, the editor of Jane's Fighting Ships recently stated to Indian Age that "the Russian submarine-design bureau Rubin is cooperating with the DRDO in developing the sub's 190 MW PWR, and that the Indian navy already tested a nuclear-propulsion system ashore."
He further stated that fabrication work on the 6000-tonne displacement hull will begin next year.
Additional comments by Sharpe concerning the submarine were "It puts the Indian Navy in a different league. You could call it the ace of spades in the pack of maritime capability." He also believes a nuclear submarine will give India a "colossal advantage" over its neighbors. Facing a nuclear submarine is a nightmare; it has unlimited endurance and mobility and there's no place for a surface ship to hide."
Even thought India now possesses much knowledge and experience concerning the construction of submarines that knowledge is not totally transferable to the nuclear-powered submarine project.
The tear drop or water drop shape of the submarine remains the same, however one cannot cut a conventional-powered submarine in half, install the nuclear power plant in a new compartment between the two halves, and weld the three sections together. Further discussion of this topic will occur in the nuclear propulsion section.
(21)The initial design strategy was to copy a leased Russian nuclear submarine (Charlie II) using an Indian built nuclear reactor for propulsion. The Russians are said to have provided detailed drawing of the leased submarine minus the reactor design (providing reactor design details would have been a violation of the NPT).
(22)HY-80 steel was chosen as the material of choice for the construction of the submarine pressure hull. Much experience was gained with this steel during the construction of conventional submarines. Considerable problems were encountered during the welding and construction process. (23)The welding problems were traced to the presence of nonmetallic inclusions, particularly sulfide stringers. (24)In addition hydrogen-induced cracking was a continual problem. A detailed study was performed to solve these problems. Alternative steels were studied as replacement for HY-80, but in the end it remained the material of choice. The problems encountered with this steel were responsible in large amount for the large cost overrun mentioned earlier.
The team included representatives from the Naval Chemical and Metallurgical Laboratory, Naval Dockyard, Bombay, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, Bhabha Atomic Research Center, Bombay, Research and Development Center for Iron and Steel, Ranchi, Defense Metallurgical Research Laboratory, Hyderabad and the Indira Gandhi Center for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam.
This project was conducted under the direction of Dr. P.C. Deb, Director, Naval Chemical and Metallurgical Laboratory. It is also of interest to note that U.K. Chatterjee, of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur was involved in this effort. He is also deeply involved in the development of lasers for isotope separation.
(25)The Defence Materials Research Laboratory, Naval Dockyard, Bombay is also conducting research towards development of an advanced HSLA (high strength low alloy) steel as a possible replacement for HY-80 in critical naval applications. The research appears to be in an early stage of development and for the moment India will still use HY-80 in its submarine pressure hulls.
(26)In late December 1995 it was reported that DRDO had made considerable progress in the fabrication of the pre-test capsule (PTC) was fabricated in 1994 at Hazira in Gujarat. From there it was transported to Kalpakkam. The PTC will fabricated into the final shell is reported to be made of titanium steel and has a hull diameter of 10 meters. This is about 3.5 meters more than the Kilo-class submarine originally borrowed by India. The use of a titanium steel hull will enable the submarine to dive to deeper depths. The hull is to be covered with rubber acoustic tiles to help reduce the signature of the submarine.
(27)India has been reported to be experimenting with the use of non-reflective tiles to reduce sonar returns. Experiments have been carried out on both Kilo and Type 209/2000 submarines using both coatings and tiles.
(28)No information has been published concerning degaussing and/or demagnetizing and its application to submarines. It is known that work in this area has been carried out at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bangalore.
(29)According to Jane's Fighting Ships 1995-1996 the hull of the submarine will weight 6,000 tonnes. Fabrication of the hull is scheduled to begin in 1997.
Nuclear Powerplant Design:
The most important part of the submarine is the nuclear powerplant. Very little information is available concerning the powerplant. Certainly the time spent on the leased Soviet nuclear submarine provided valuable design information. However the radiation problems encountered caused much concern.
(30)Uranium in three different levels of enrichment is suitable for use in naval nuclear reactors. The US uses highly enriched uranium (>90%) in its reactors. The use of this level of enrichment ensures long reactor lifetimes.
(31)Soviet submarines are known to have used both medium and low level enriched uranium. Recent reactor designs incorporate highly enriched uranium in the core. The use of low level enriched uranium by China and France has also been described.
At the present time, India does not appear to have the capability of separating large amounts (hundreds of kilograms per year) of highly enriched uranium. Both their centrifuge plants and their experimental laser isotope separation facility appear more suited to low level enrichment. An additional indication that these facilities are not up to full capacity is the sale last year of low enriched uranium by China. This uranium is destined for India's commercial power reactors and would be subject to international safeguards.
Recent evidence seems to indicate that India has the capability to produce the required highly enriched (>90%)uranium needed for the submarine reactor core.
It would also be more economical for India to use low level enriched uranium in its experimental naval reactor. (32)According to P.K. Chari, the former director of the Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA) and currently Professor of national Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi enriched (20%) uranium would find use in a reactor to power submarines. However the use of low level enriched uranium also poses problems. Fuel changes to replace fissioned uranium are needed more often. This poses particular problems for India as there are no suitable facilities capable of handling radioactive materials.
Two different type of reactors would have also been considered. The water-cooled water-moderated reactor (PWR) was designed by BARC and is believed based on Soviet design information obtained form the leased submarine. Some information is known about Soviet reactor design. Naval reactor cores have been described as having 248-252 fuel assemblies depending upon type of reactor. There may be up to a few tens of fuel rods per assembly.
A second liquid metal cooled reactor was probably looked at by Kalpakkam. The pressurized water-cooled reactor is the far better choice and appears to be the reactor chosen for the nuclear powered submarine.
(33)It is now known that China used information obtained about naval ship reactors to help design their first submarine reactor. Information was openly obtained about the West German reactor used on the Otto Hahn and the Soviet reactor used on the Lenin. This information would have surely been available to India.
(34)Indian sources also mention information about a Japanese naval nuclear reactor (Mutsu) and its suitability for use in a submarine.
(35)Most PWR fuel is uranium-aluminum dispersed fuel (cermet) in steel or zirconium cladding. (36)Indian scientists from BARC and the Indian Institute of Technology have published a number of recent papers describing the uranium-aluminum and uranium-zirconium phases.
(37)Enrichment of the PWR core has varied from 21% to as high as 45% for later version cores. A typical first generation core contained approximately 50 kg of U-235 per reactor.
India is very experienced in the design and use of cermet fuel for small reactors. As cited earlier the uranium-aluminum phase diagram has been detailed and the effect of additives such as silicon has been examined. Both Aspara and Zerlina are known to have used medium enriched uranium.
(38)Aluminum clad uranium fuel elements are also in use in both the Cirus and Dhruva reactors. The uranium used in both of these reactors is of the unenriched type and is produced at the Uranium Metal Plant located at Trombay. Fabrication of the fuel elements is done at the Fuel Fabrication Division of BARC. Experience gained in the fabrication of these fuel elements would be invaluable in the design of submarine fuel elements.
If a cermet or aluminum clad uranium is not used then enriched uranium dioxide clad in zircaloy fuel elements may be considered. The Nuclear Fuel Complex at Hyderabad produces zircaloy clad uranium dioxide for both pressurized heavy water reactors and boiling water reactors. Both natural and low level enriched uranium dioxide are used at this facility.
(39)The reactor and its containment vessel are reported to weigh some 600 tonnes. The pressurized water reactor (PWR) will use enriched uranium in the form of plate-type fuel elements.
(40)The steam turbine design and test facilities for use with the nuclear reactor have been set up at Vizag.
(41)Consideration had been given to using a mixed plutonium-uranium oxide fuel in the form of small diameter pins, but that was dropped in favor of enriched uranium in the form of plate-type fuel elements.
Core design, neutronics, power distribution coefficients and criticality calculations all are performed by BARC. Calculations are done in-house using codes developed by both BARC and Kalpakkam scientists. A locally designed supercomputer (PARAM) using parallel processing computers may aid in these efforts, although American and Japanese supercomputers are available for use. (42)Techniques have also been developed at the Advanced Numerical Research and Analysis Group to improve processing speeds of computers by exploiting parallel processing.
(43)According to Kotta Subba Rao Indian nuclear scientists under the guidance of Drs. Ramanna, Srinivasan, and Iyengar have been trying since 1971 to build a nuclear submarine reactor. Three different reactor designs were evaluated. The first was rejected in late 1976, the second in 1979 and the third in 1981.
(44)Problems have existed in the design of certain safety features. An important item in submarine nuclear reactors is the design of the control rod insertion and withdrawal mechanism. This may have been responsible for the radiation leaks aboard the leased Soviet submarine which lead to the reported death of at least one Indian scientist. It is known that India tried to buy a rod worth minimizer ((RWM) used by reactor operators to guide and monitor the proper sequences for the withdrawal and insertion of control rods. The sale was denied.
The control rod technology for use with the rod worth minimizer has been well developed by India. They are able to adequately separate hafnium from zirconium and have also evaluated the worth of hafnium as compared to cadmium for use in control rods. The use of liquid poison systems has also been evaluated.
(45)It has also been reported that the Russian submarine-design bureau Rubin is cooperating in developing the nuclear submarine's 190 MW PWR. Russian engineers have been working with DRDO on the design since 1991.
Even thought India possesses much experience in reactor design and fuel fabrication, construction of the reactor does not appear to gone much past the land based prototype stage. The major holdups appear to be the lack of a suitable harbour facility for handling radioactive materials, lack of an adequate supply of highly enriched uranium, reactor integration and design problems and financial considerations.
(46)The PWR failed tests at Kalpakkam in November and December 1995. The failures were believed to be caused by "several integration and fabrication problems" that have yet to be solved.
(47)In June of 1996 it was reported that the program suffered further setbacks following additional failed tests of the reactor. Problems in fabricating the containment vessel have also occurred.
(48)In July of 1996 it was reported by Delhi All India Radio that "India has successfully developed a nuclear-powered submarine for the navy. The submarine named the Advanced Technology Vehicle was tested successfully somewhere in the East coast recently."
Underwater tests on the reactor were scheduled for late 1996 but are on hold till problems encountered during the earlier tests are resolved.
Communication and Intelligence Support Systems:
Covert communications with the submerged submarine are of utmost importance both in war and peacetime. Since the early 1980's India has been involved in research and development of advanced means for communicating with submerged submarines.
(49)The VLF communication station was stated to be operable in 1988. Because this kind of signal can only penetrate seawater to a depth of 8-10 meters alternate sources of communication have been looked. Some work in the ELF area has been done but not much is known about this research. Work in these areas is carried out by National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and Bangalore, and the Defense Electronics Applications Laboratory, Dehra Dun (also known as the Instruments Research and Development Establishment).
(50)In 1986 a paper entitled "Nuclear Hardened Radio Communication to Submarine: A Review" was published by researchers from the Defense Electronics Applications Laboratory, Dehra Dun. This paper reviewed and summarized the effects of nuclear radiation and EMP on VLF/ELF communication systems. They concluded that "ELF radio communication is the only such reliable means which can withstand the effect of nuclear holocaust and is least disturbed by the EMP generated by nuclear explosion". EMP effects have been studied by Indian researchers and further details are presented in the section on survivability.
Laser communications were considered vital due to higher transmission rates and the ability to penetrate the ocean down to depths of 500-700 meters. VLF was claimed to be able to penetrate to depths of 8-10 meters with ELF penetrating to depths of around 100 meters.
(51)In April 1983 a two day conference was held at the Instruments Research and Development Establishment, Dehra Dun to discuss Ocean Optics and Laser Communications. Papers were presented by researchers from both the national Institute of Oceanography, Goa and the Instruments Research and Development Establishment, Dehra Dun. Topics discussed included: optical properties of seawater, design considerations for laser based underwater optical systems, underwater imaging and photography, laser sources, underwater ranging, modulation methods for lasers, use of fiber optics in underwater communications, applications of acoustical holography.
(52)By the early 1980's work had started on a laser communication link from the air and ground. This work was a joint project carried out at both the Ocean Engineering Centre and the Laser Communication Laboratory, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. By 1985 an experimental facility for measuring the attenuating effects of the ocean surface on laser beam penetration was already in operation. This study concluded "that ocean waves are not a serious in a laser communication link, as long as the laser has sufficient power to penetrate the atmosphere twice and penetrate ocean water for a distance upto several hundreds meters". The project was headed by Dr. Ashok Jhunjhunwala with assistance provided by Dr. Varun Jeoti.
Continued interest in these areas is indicated by two papers published in the early 1990's. (53)A 1991 paper by researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore presents a state of the art review of the origin of the blue-green window in the attenuation spectrum of ocean waters. Various physical mechanisms which contribute to the formation of this window were described. Measured values of attenuation coefficients for ocean waters collected from the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal were presented. The region of minimum attenuation for pure particle-free sea water was found to be 450-500 nm.
(54)A January 1993 article by researchers from the Defense Electronics Applications Laboratory, Dehradun reviewed the area of submarine communications and stated "in the near future the blue-green laser is going to be the vital means of sending large information to a submarine operating much deeper (500-700 m) with unrestricted speed. The depths and speed cited indicate a nuclear-powered submarine.
(55)The importance of satellite communication and imagery programs to the submarine project has not been publicly addressed. Indian analysts have noted the military value of imagery: "With satellite imagery technologies improving towards finer resolutions and even becoming commercially available, very few of our military secrets are safe. In the future it will be difficult to enter into meaningful force reduction agreements with China or Pakistan unless India is able to match the missile capabilities of China as well as the information acquisition capabilities of both China and Pakistan through satellites and intelligence sharing."
(56)The Ministry of Defense recently suspended all civilian uses of the IRS-1C satellite to "monitor without distraction all nuclear and ballistic missiles deployed by China and possibly Pakistan near India's border." Whether this information can be downlinked to a submerged submarine in real time has not been disclosed.
(57)India's Kilo class submarines are reported to be equipped with a HF/VHF intercept array, a Quad Loop DF system, and a Squid Head ESM system. The 209/1500 class submarines are reported to be equipped with the Phoenix II ESM system produced by ARGO Systems. It is of interest to note that ARGO Systems provided the same type of system to Pakistan for use on thier destroyers.
It has been reported that Indian submarines have been have been used to spy on Thailand. And during the Gulf War Australian ship movements were reportly monitored.
Even thought the sonar systems supplied by the West Germans for the conventional submarines were state of the art, Indian naval authorities felt the need to develop and test their own sonar systems.
(58)Early development work was carried out at the Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL), Visakhapatnam. Vice-Admiral B.G. Mudholkar was the director of NSTL at that time. Captain M.K. Mukherjee supplied technical support in these efforts.
(59)These early efforts were directed towards the characterization of flow-induced noise inside a sonar dome. This flow-induced was found to be largely responsible for limiting a ship's sonar performance at high speeds. As early as 1981 the importance of flow-induced noise had been recognized.
(60)Frequency zooming techniques for high spectrum analysis have been developed by researchers at the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory, Cochin. Support in the development of algorithms has been provided by Osmania University, Hyderabad.
(61)Underwater acoustics have been studied by the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory, Cochin and the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa. The following results were presented: "The methodology and software developed to reconstruct a vertical sound speed profile as a part of studies on marine acoustic modeling, using the ray path lengths and the travel time perturbutations in tomographic layers are outlined. For a stratified ocean, considering the range independent nature of the medium, geophysical inverse techniques are employed to reconstruct the sound speed profile. The reconstructed profile for a six layer ocean, with five energetic modes, is in good agreement with that of the assumed profile thereby indicating the usefulness of the model. The effect of noise caused by the excursions of the source and receiver moorings; when expressed in terms of travel-time differences, results in the sound speed changes up to 0.1 per cent."
(62)An underwater magnetic survey has been reported on by the Naval Science and Technological Laboratory, Visakhhapatnam. In addition sound-speed as a function of temperature at different depths in the Bay of Bengal was characterized by the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa. The following details were provided: "Through regression analysis, temperature-dependent relationships are developed to predict sound-speed at discrete depths in the Bay of Bengal, thereby demonstrating the feasibility of sound-speed prediction from polynomial expressions for temperature disregarding salinity variations. A separate regression equation is developed for the historical sound-speed and temperature data at standard depths up to 250 m. At specific depths and in the given geographic area in the Bay of Bengal (5-8 degree N, 90-93 degree E), polynomials of temperature proved to be a precise way to predict sound speed."
(63)Underwater transducers are produced by the Armament Research and Development Establishment, Pune. The underwater omnidirectional transducers are 60 mm hollow spherical elements fabricated from lead zirconate titanate type-4 material. Complete production information is provided in a 1991 article.
Additional support in the area of underwater acoustic transducer analysis is provided by the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory, Cochin. (64)A recent article described several techniques of analysis for underwater acoustic transducers. Both computer and mathematical modelling was provided in this analysis.
(65)The Centre for Applied Research in Electronics, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi has been involved in sonar system development for over twenty years. This center evolved from the School of Radar Studies. Initial small scale work began in 1971. A 1993 paper reviews a sonar system for surface ships that uses technology developed during the 1980-84 period. The study involved the development of an omnidirectional sonar receiver. The then director of the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory, Dr. V.K. Aatre had overall responsibility for this activity. Shipboard trials were carried out in the 1984-5 time period.
(66)Lastly two reviews were published in 1993 providing details on sonar and ASW sensors and towed array sonar systems. The review on ASW sensors by Dr. V.K. Aarte, the former director of the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory, now at the Defense Research and Development Organization, New Delhi.
Weapons Development and Support:
Since the initial Indian submarine design was to be based on the Russian Charlie II cruise missile carrying nuclear submarine, it is logical that an indigenious designed cruise missile would be employed on that submarine.
Later design studies may have shown the superior deterence value advantage of a ballistic missile carrying submarine and hence reported work on that type of missile design.
The Sagarika has been identified as either a submarine launched cruise or ballistic missile with a range of 300 km.
(67)The following details were provided in the Asian Defense Journal (5/95): "India is testing scale models of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) Sagarika in wind tunnels at the Aeronautical Defense Establishment (ADE), a part of DRDO. The project initiated some three years ago (1992), is aimed at building a SLBM which will be carried on an indigenous nuclear submarine. The missile, which in some respects will be similar to Prithvi, will be able to hit targets as far away as 300 km."
(68)In early April 1996 the Indian navy announced plans to acquire three locally produced missile systems. Among those identified
was the large submarine-launced ballistic missile called "Sagarika". The project was stated to have begun in 1994 and is scheduled for completion in 2005.
Other defense sources have said that the missile is the "big one" and it is said to be the most technologically advanced program to be developed by DRDO. The same article stated that the missile is reported to be in the final stages of scale model testing and propulsion mechanisms are in the process of being developed.
(69)The following details are provided for the cruise missile: "India is also working on a cruise missile which would carry a 450 kg warhead and would be guided by a navigation system similar to the US Global Positioning System (GPS). India has already developed a computer programme which would allow engineers to calculate the pressure of aerodynamic forces on the missile's surface during its flight. This is a very complex process and its involves development of an optimum surface design of the missile to counter the air flow. Indian engineers are now trying to develop an engine and a guidance system for the cruise missile."
(70)A number of recent articles have described the Sagarika as a sea-launced cruise missile. (71)In addition work is proceeding on a new long-range anti-ship missile similar in design to the French Exocet. The missile's name is believed to be Koral.
(72)Mention has also been made that India is in the final stages of development of another ICBM system (Surya) with a reported range of between 12,000 and 20,000 km.
Work on these systems is being carried at the Defense Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad and the Research Centre, Immarat located 6 km from DRDL. While the Aeronautical Defense Establishment is located at Bangalore.
Development of a submarine launched ballistic missile is a very complicated undertaking. (73)Among the major problems associated with such a system are the effects of water in the nozzle on motor ignition. This effect caused the recent failure of two out of three flights of the US Trident II missile. If a highly technologically advanced country such as the United States has had problems in the design and testing of submarine launched ballistic missiles, for a country such as India the task may appear unsurmountable.
(74)India has also experienced problems in the area of stage separation. This problem has been experienced by SLV-3, ASLV, and the Agni. Modification in designs have helped solve part of the problem but difficulties are still being encountered.
(75)Maraging steel components for missile projects are produced at Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd., Midhani or at its Hindustan's Aerospace Division located in Bangalore. Aluminum alloy components are manufactured by the Bharat Aluminum Company. Both aluminum alloy and maraging steel components are known to be formed by flow-forming. (76)Research in the area of spin and shear forming is carried out at the National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi and both the Punjab Engineering College and the Delhi College of Engineering.
(77)Solid propellant research and development is performed at many locations throughout India. The Indian Institute of Technology, Bangalore, University of Gorakhpur, Gorakhpur, Bhararathidasan University, Tiruchapalli are examples of universities performing research in this area. Military Research is conducted at the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory, Chandigaarth and Explosives Research and Development Laboratory, Pune. Civilian space research is conducted by the Indian Space Research Organization, with the fuel complex located at Thumba.
(78)India also produces such important propellant ingredients as Hydroxylterminated-polybutadiene (HTPB) at the National Organic Chemical Industries Limited facility and ammonium perchlorate is produced at Alwaye.
Knowledge gained from the development of the Agni technology development program will be of use in designing a submarine launched ballistic missile. The most important technology transferred over would be the carbon/carbon heat shield and re-entry vehicle design.
(79)The Agni re-entry vehicle has been recently described. According to the article: "The 4.6 metres long re-entry vehicle is designed to withstand a high heat flux and temperatures beyond 3,000 degrees centigrade during re-entry. It is divided in five sections and all of them are based on a unique all-composite, twin layered filament wound structure. The inner carbon-epoxy layer withstands structural loads and the outer carbon-phenolic, and in the case of Agni-III carbon-carbon layer acts as an ablative thermal protective system that ensures the re-entry vehicle inside temperature remains at 50 degrees centigrade even thought flow field temperatures may be 3,000 degrees centigrade".
(80)The aerodynamic control surfaces of the re-entry vehicle have been modified and tested to provide terminal manoeuvering during re-entry. This modification would only be needed if the re-entry vehicle was being designed to defeat a ballistic missile defense system.
(81)The accuracy of this blunt nosed re-entry vehicle is not totally suitable for a first strike weapon. It is more suitable for use in a counterforce mode as a second strike weapon for the destruction of cities or other high value targets than as a first strike weapon.
(82)Carbon/carbon technology is known to play an important in both missile and cruise missile development. Under Dr. O.P. Bahl research is carried out at the Carbon Fiber and Composites group, National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi. Support is provided by the Chemistry Department of the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi.
(83)Research on the development of oxidation resistant carbon/carbon composites for use in advanced cruise missile engines is carried out at G.H. Patel Institute of Material Science, Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar and the Carbon Technology Unit and Materials Division of the National Physical Laboratory , New Delhi. (84)In 1995 a program for manufacturing carbon/carbon composites was set up near Hyderabad by the Technology, Information, Forecasting and Assesment Council (TIFAC) under the Department of Science and Technology.
Realizing the importance of carbon/carbon, Indian graduate and post-graduate were dispatched to study at major universities throughout the world. Students have attended the following universities: Centre de recherche Paul Pascal, CNRS, Universite Bordeaux, France, Institut fur Chemische Technik, Universitat Karlsruhe, Germany, Research Laboratory of Engineering Materials, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan. Students have also attended the following universities located in the United States: Georgia Technological Research Institute (GTRI), Dartmouth College, and the University of California, San Diego.
(85)At present the Agni IRBM uses a strap-down guidance system. This system offers a lower cost alternative to an Inertial Guidance System, however it suffers from a lack of accuracy. Before deploying a SLBM an improved guidance system will need to be developed. (86)The use of a radio-correction guidance system has been reportly deployed on the Prithvi missile. Whether such technology can be transferred over to the SLBM project remains to be seen.
(87)Lastly work has been conducted on the design of earth penetrating warheads. This work was carried out at the Armament Research and development Establishment, Pune. Computer codes have been developed which model various aspects of warhead and target interaction.
(88)Modelling the effects of underwater explosions has been carried out at the Centre for Aeronautical Systems Studies and Analysis, Bangalore and the University of Gorakhpur, Gorakhpur. Actual explosive studies are believed to be carried out at the Institute of Armament Technology, Pune and the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory, Cochin.
(89)Computer aided warship design and stability studies are carried out at Institute of Armament Technology, Pune with (85)related signature analysis work carried out at the Naval Science and Technological Laboratory, Visakhapatnan.
(90)The effects of a nuclear explosion upon submarine communication were analyzed and reviewed by the Defense Electronics Applications Laboratory, Dehra Dun. In their conclusions they stated that ELF radio communications is the reliable most means of withstanding a nuclear explosion. Actual electromagnetic pulse studies (EMP) are conducted at the Department of High Voltage Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Bangalore.
Additional support is provided by the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment, Bangalore, EETF, ENTEST Lab, Research Centre Imarat, Hyderabad, and the Electronics Research and Development Centre, Calcutta.
In the event India does not go forward with the nuclear-powered submarine project conventional alternatives must be considered.
(91)Advanced technologies such as Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) are now becoming available. (92)Air Independent Propulsion has been stated "to provide only enough power to maintain a submarines hotel load and to provide enough headway to enable the submarine to manoeuvre. High speed still requires the use of diesels and a snorkel".
(93)It is of interest to note that Admiral Vijai Signh Shekhawat, Chief of the Indian Naval Staff stated in an interview with Jane's Defense Weekly that "There are no plans to install an Air Independent Propulsion system or to acquire submarine-launced cruise missiles".
(94)Advanced fuel cells are also being developed for use on the German Type 212 submarine.
(95)Both technologies are available through the German Submarine Corporation (GSC) for export.
(96)In August of 1996 it was confirmed by Gennady Makarov, deputy chief designer of the Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering Rubin, that Russia had offered to sell the Kilo Type 636 submarine to India. Terms and conditions of the offer have not been announced.
(97)In February of this it was reported that India intended to import two additional submarines from Russia and plans to build two hunter-killer class submarines under German license.
(98)Pakistan is now scheduled to receive modern Agosta-90B type submarines from France. These submarines will be equipped with an MESMA (Module d'Energie Sous Marine) Air Independent Propulsion System (AIPS) and will carry SM-39 Exocet missiles.
(99)The implications for the Indian Navy of this scheduled acquisition was the subject of two recent articles written by Rahul Roy-Chaudhury (Research Officer at the Indian Institute of Defense and Strategic Analysis). He concluded "that the Indian Navy's quantitative superiority will come into play against this newest threat... and that the range and extent of India's growing maritime interests will always necessitate a far larger naval force than that of Pakistan."
His conclusion was: "At present, the new advanced technology submarines to be acquired simply represent a modernization of Pakistan's submarine force. These boats will not tilt the naval balance in the Indian subcontinent in Pakistan's favour. They, however, represent a decrease in the Indian Navy's edge over the Pakistani Navy in warfare. This could be rectified by some long-term planning on the part of the Indian Navy emphasizing the gamut of its ASW forces."
(100)The shallow water threat posed by conventional submarines has been evaluated. The author concluded that the threat while serious is overrated and can be countered by the effective use of ASW forces or modern nuclear hunter-killer submarines.
(101)Aware of the underwater arms race taking place in Asia and elsewhere, the United States is undertaking efforts to introduce a global ban on the sale of advanced diesel electric submarines. At the same time western navies are developing advanced counter measures to these same submarines.
Alternatives to nuclear power are available but they come at a cost. To counter the threat posed by Pakistan conventional technology will still suffice but in order to counter the growing threat posed by China, India will be forced to seriously consider nuclear powered alternatives.
Construction of a facility for handling radioactive materials
near a city such as Bombay may present problems. The population may not react kindly to such a facility.
(102)It is also relevant to mention that the port facilities at Vishakapatanam are believed to have been included in the strategic targeting list developed by the Pentagon.
(103)The case of Captain Kota Subha Rao will be discussed. Captain Rao was jailed for 20 months due to differences in his perceptions and those of the official scientific group working on the naval nuclear reactor. Differences in the ranks over the safety of nuclear power exist, but it appears that the establishment has taken extreme efforts to silence any opposition.
(1048)Captain Kota Subba Rao has been involved in nuclear projects since the early 1970's. (99)During the early 1970's he was involved in experiments on the PURNIMA reactor. (105)The PURNIMA reactor played a vital part in the development of India's first nuclear device. The reactor which used re-processed plutonium from the 40 MW Cirus reactor provided basic data regrading neutron multiplication factors, effectiveness of reflectors, critical mass assembly and many other device relevant factors.
(106)He was also involved in the design review process for three submarine reactors. Based partially upon his recommendations, the first design was dropped in late 1976, the second in 1979 and the third in 1981.
He further claims that because of this design review in 1980 Indira Gandhi refused money for building a prototype reactor.
He was also involved in a disagreement between the Indian Prime Minister and Dr. Ramanna over computer calculations provided by Captain Rao concerning the prototype of the third design. Dr. Ramanna lost out and was shunned by the then Prime Minister. These reactor calculations formed the basis of Captain Rao's PhD thesis which was classified Top Secret by the Indian Government.
(107)During the mid 1980's Captain Rao was jailed on charges that he was carrying out of the country various classified documents relating to India's nuclear submarine program. Among the documents he was carrying was a copy of his PhD thesis. After being jailed for 20 months the courts released him after finding nothing incriminating against him. (108)His design for a reactor was shown to be a failure. French trials of a similar design were published and shown not to work.
Despite routine disclaimers that: "India does not have any regional or international ambitions and the country's naval capability is being only tailored to guard the long coastline and the exclusive economic zone", (103)the strategic direction of all these developments is clear and would explain the interest revealed by India in uranium enrichment technology.
(104)According to a 1992 study authored by Brigadier Vijai K. Nair, VSM (Retired) a nuclear triad capability is the most appropriate defense alternative for India. He states that "in so far as China is concerned, most of the targets are beyond the range of IRBM's. As India's policy has to be restricted to delivery systems with a reach of the IRBM, she will have to employ SSBN based SLBM's to tackle the deterrence requirements against China initially."
Under geo-strategic imperatives he states: Geographically, the direct threat which impinges on our security emanates from China and Pakistan, two countries with common borders to India on her North and West. The other threat finds credence by its presence along the extensive coast line which juts out into the Indian Ocean. The striking features of such a position are quite apparent.
- Proximity of hostile weapon systems would so reduce the time of flight that a strategy based on the need for decision making and response time cannot be applied in ensuring the security of the sub-continent. In other words a major input for strategy formulation is India's susceptibility to a pre- emptive strike.
- This capability to pre-empt Indian nuclear weapons systems would radically effect the decision on the quantity of warheads which would need to be deployed to form a viable force in such a scenario. To say the least, a meaningful nuclear strategy would become dependent on deploying a significant incremental factor to the warhead stockpile to counteract the counter force potential that exists with a hostile China to destroy the complete system with impunity.
- It would also dictate the deployment of nuclear war heads mounted on submarines to ensure survival of a viable force to counter enemy strikes thus creating the only feasible second strike capability to deter a pre-emptive.
- This in turn would automatically mean realizing the ability to field short and intermediate range delivery systems which entails a bifurcation in development thrusts.
- The imminence of the threat to pre-emptive decapitation of the leadership would generate command and control problems quite dissimilar to those of the United States and Soviet Union. Besides posing problems of suitably locating command facilities India would be constrained to give a much greater weightage to doctrines effecting release policies. This thrust need not necessarily follow existing philosophy and, would in all probability, have an increased effect on destabilization.
- In view of the pre-emptive quotient of a nuclear environment on the sub-continent, Indian strategy would have to place a greater emphasis on 'second strike' capability. Such a potential would probably not suffice if it were constrained to the Indian land mass. The need to analyze this in greater depth is, therefore, called for and projection of power from external bases must be considered.
- To give credence to a nuclear war fighting system as also to the 'will' of the leadership to pursue a given strategy, India must, perforce, demonstrate a potential to survive a pre-emptive attack. This would necessitate a policy to provide a visible survival capability to the civilian population that lies in the proximity of her borders. And, this would entail much larger expenditures on damage limitation infrastructure than were initially incurred by the West.
According to him the sea leg of the triad would be composed of five SSBN's. Three for deterrence against China (two on patrol, one on reserve) and two for use against Pakistan (one on patrol and one on reserve). Each of the submarines would carry sixteen missiles, therefore the entire SLBM inventory would total eighty missiles.
Each missile would carry one warhead of varying yield. MIRV technology is far beyond the present capabilities of DRDO and it does appear that any major power would transfer such technology to India under any present circumstances.
As regards to warhead development he states "that the basic infrastructure exists, by virtue of which, an explosive device was developed and tested in 1974. Though India, thereafter, eschewed the nuclear option, there is no reason to believe that research in the field of explosive devices was discontinued. On this assumption one could surmise: that fairly advanced research and laboratory facilities exist and incremental costs of a nuclear strategy would be marginal; and, scientific know how over the last two decades, has mastered fusion technology on which higher yield warheads could be designed."
Reports of advanced nuclear development have appeared from at least two different sources. (105)One claims that work on a hydrogen bomb has been ongoing at the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) for the past five years. (106)The other report states that a lightweight nuclear warhead is being developed for the Agni missile system.
The accuracy of the above statements concerning warhead development or advances in fusion technology cannot be verified although it is believed that (107)India was planning a nuclear test earlier this year.
(108)Details of India's efforts in this and related areas are provided in a very recent article by Pravin Sawhney who is a former major of the Indian Army. The accuracy of his statements cannot be verified.
The desired weapons capability needed by India have been calculated and presented by Nair.
According to him targets in Pakistan should include: "Six metropolitan centres including port facilities; one corps sized offensive formation in its concentration area; three sets of bottle necks in the strategic communication network; five nuclear capable military airfields; two hydroelectric water storage dams. A total of 17 nuclear strikes.
For China he made the following recommendation: "Creation of a weapons capability to pull out five to six major industrial centers plus two ports designed to service China's SSBN fleet. This makes a total of 8 nuclear strikes."
"The ideal configuration of warhead numbers and yield would be: Two strikes of one megaton each for metropolitan centres and port facilities; two strikes of 15 kt each for battle field targets; one strike with a yield between 200 and 500 kt each for dams; one strike of 20 to 50 kt each for military airfields; and, one strike each of 15 kt for strategic military communication centres."
(109)Lt. General K. Sundarji recently wrote that "For emplacing a minimum deterrent posture against China, it would be necessary for India to deploy land based IRBM's with fusion warheads or boosted yield fission warheads, partly in soft overground sites and partly rail-mobile, along with some SLBM capabilities...
Further "China is aware of India's sensitivity to major power naval (Nuclear) presence in the Indian Ocean and to efforts in the past to avert China's attempts at acquiring bases in the region. She will expect a sharp reaction to her presence which in turn will heighten her own threat perceptions.... Therefore, while accessing the threat from China, India can not confine herself to the present and a geographical constraint in the North. She has to analyze China's growth and direction of future power projection to arrive at a meaningful strategy for the future."
"China is extremely sensitive to the nuclear capability of potential foes. Russia and the United States are eons ahead of her in the nuclear arms race and no amount of arms limitation agreements are likely to change that equation. Added to this is the fact that India is on the threshold of indigenously producing nuclear powered submarines, has successfully launched short and intermediate range missiles and has demonstrated the capacity to produce a nuclear device. Therefore, China is not likely to accept India's stance on not going nuclear and will deploy a suitable deterrent as she has done to secure herself vis-a-vis the United States and the CIS."
"China, on the other hand, has all her critical assets beyond the current reach of Indian delivery systems. Recently, Sino-Indian relations have considerably thawed and the latter is preoccupied with the four major modernization programmes that would boost her into the great power bracket. The creation of a nuclear force in being to pose a major threat to China would denigrate the equation. However, China does have the capability to threaten to attack Indian targets and is firmly allied with Pakistan. She may, therefore, use coercive diplomacy based on her nuclear capacity to neutralize Pakistan's prevailing disadvantage. The fact of such a possibility requires the creation of a minimal long range capability that could reach limited countervalue targets on the Chinese mainland. The requirement is to have a retaliatory capability against five to six metropolitan centres on the Chinese main land. This need not be configured on IRBM's based in India but could best be achieved by submarine launched IRBM's that may be deployed suitably in the eventuality of a crisis. A direct threat to China's nuclear forces should be scrupulously avoided at this time."
As for the cost of such a fleet Brigadier Nair has stated: "The cost factor for nuclear powered submarines is already on the cards whether the country opts for a nuclear strategy or not." He further states that development costs of the SLBM are likely to be marginally higher (than an IRBM) to cater for subsurface launches. The costs would emerge at around Rs 10 crore a piece.
(110)A 1995 article published in the Times of India entitled "Deterrence Must Shift Underwater" discusses the importance of a nuclear submarine capability to the future security of India. The author has stated: "If there is the intention of entering the nuclear club one day, it must be done with foresight and patience. The people have the right to nuclear deterrence at sea. They also need to know that the huge sum spent on national nuclear deterrence will not be overtaken by technology, thus necessitating further expenditure after a decade. The submarine-based missile system is the only answer to these variables today."
"There is a need to impart a sense of urgency to India's nuclear submarine program. The strategic community and those who represent India at international fora must realize that in the game of power, the nuclear submarine is a trump card. For India, which has no cards at all, the nuclear submarine will enable it to have a say once again in international affairs. It is amusing to note that India's claim to sit in the security council rests partly on its record as regards U.N. operations. Amusing, because despite the armed forces crying themselves hoarse about wanting to participate, India has been absent from all U.N. operations for 20 years since 1967. Therefore, if it does wish to renounce nuclear weapons once and for all and sign the NPT, and also wishes to deter hostile nations without declaring nuclear status, the nuclear submarine project must assume primary significance"
NOTE: this is an old but very well written article by a reputed source.