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Nuclear submarine trials going 'very well', says Indian Navy Chief

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Sea trials of the first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine, INS Arihant, are going "very well" and the progress in this regard has been satisfactory, Navy Chief Admiral RK Dhowan has said.

"There are no problems in the INS Arihant project. The trials are underway and going on very well. We are satisfied with the way the project is progressing," Dhowan said.

He was talking to mediapersons on Thursday on the sidelines of the inauguration of a two-day National Aviation Seminar to mark 62 years of naval aviation in the country.

He, however, said he was "not in a position to give timelines with regard to the completion of INS Arihant trials or what happens thereafter".

The trials of the 6,000-tonne vessel which has a 83- Megawatt nuclear reactor were flagged off by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in December last year. The submarine is expected to be inducted in two years' time if the trials are successfully completed.

Talking about the trials of the first indigenously built Scorpene submarine -- the project being pursued with French assistance -- under the ambitious 'Project 75' programme for making 75 submarines in the country, Dhowan said the "endeavour was to see that the programme continues without any obstacle so that the commissioning of the first submarine is made next year as per the plan".

As regards Project 75(I), the Navy Chief said that the evaluation of the capabilities of various shipyards was in its final stages and the report on it will be ready shortly. He added that the requirement for torpedoes was under active consideration by the Ministry of Defence.

Asked about the second indigenous aircraft carrier, Dhowan said that under the 'joint working group on aircraft carrier design with the US', the Indian Navy has "done some work to prepare the approach paper" but that it was still "too premature to say in which direction it goes".

"All options regarding the type of aircraft carrier, tonnage, type of propulsion, aircraft to carry on it and so on are being considered in the approach paper. It will be taken up with the Ministry of Defence after which a detailed report will be prepared," Dhowan said.

"The joint working group with the US will carry out its own deliberations and all options available to us will be evaluated. It is still too premature to say what direction it takes," he added.

In respect of developing amphibious capabilities for the navy, Dhowan added that induction of amphibious aircraft is being discussed and it will follow the due procedures laid down for defence procurement.

"Developing amphibian capabilities is our priority and the government as well as the navy is considering it actively," he said.

Parrikar had last month gone to Japan to discuss bilateral defence ties and there were talks on the ShinMayawa US2 amphibian aircraft.

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