India’s Future Nuclear Submarine May Be Based On French Barracuda Class ?

Posted on Posted in Geo Political News, Indian Defence News, International Defence News, Naval News

India is increasing rapidly her submarine fleet. Under P-75 and P-75I India is set to procure at least twelve conventional powered submarine. But not only conventional powered one but India is all set to increase it’s nuclear powered  submarine fleet too. In SSN and SSBN a total 11 submarines India wishes to get. At least 11 nuclear submarines India will get, if this news is not exiting enough, then comes another exiting news. And that is, India’s future submarine fleet may see another French origin submarine . And that is Barracuda Class. On November 9, Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba visited Cherbourg and was given a detailed presentation on France’s new nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN), the Barracuda class. Admiral Lanba’s visit to the French nuclear submarine builders at Cherbourg will be closely watched for several reasons. French Naval Group is the one who developed Scorpene Class submarine, six of which at least will serve in Indian Navy. Another six super scorpion class has been pitched to India for P-75I. They are the same who are building this Barracuda class. The Barracuda-class SSNs were meant to be a quantum jump in France’s nuclear submarine capabilities. They were designed for maximum operational availability — nearly 265 days of the year —and to undertake two distant patrols a year into the Indian Ocean, sailing around the Cape of Good Hope. It was the closest then that the Indian navy had come to western nuclear naval reactor technology, particularly the use of Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) in French navalpropulsion reactors. Of the six nuclear submarine operating countries, only France and China use LEU in their naval propulsion reactors. India, like the US, UK and Russia, uses Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU), enriched to a very high in their nuclear submarine reactors.Naval reactors are at the very heart of a nuclear submarine’s phenomenal capabilities. The unlimited power from a nuclear reactor to run a submarine’s steam turbines which, in turn, runs the vesssel’s propellers, allows a submarine to carry out its operational tasks — that is attacking surface ships andland targets in the case of SSNs and SSGNs or lurking silently under the sea with a load of nuclear-tipped missiles like ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs).Miniaturising a nuclear powered reactor to fit within the confined space of a submarine is what makes nuclear submarine construction so challenging. And this is where France’s achievements in this field are commendable — its 2,400-ton Rubis class were the world’s smallest nuclear powered attack submarines when they were fielded in the early 1980s, compacting a reactor into a hull slightly larger than the Indian navy’s kilo class diesel-electric conventional submarines.India’s fleet of Arihant class SSBNs uses reactor technology of an earlier generation constrained by enrichment, fuelling and consequently, mission readiness of the platform.The Indian naval delegation were impressed by the Barracuda because they asked DCNS if France would be willing to help India with reactor technology. The French response was not surprising — the issue would have to be considered at the political level.



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