“The trials are underway and going on very well. We are satisfied with the way the project is progressing,” Adm. Dhowan told reporters on the sidelines of two-day National Aviation Seminar to mark 62 years of naval aviation in the country.
While stating there are “no problems in the INS Arihant project”, he could not give a “timeline” on the completion of trials.
The 6,000-tonne submarine, designed on the Russian Akula-1 class vessel, began its sea trials last December.
The submarine’s 83 MW pressurized light-water reactor attained “criticality” in 2013 while it was undergoing harbour trials at Visakhapatnam.
INS Arihant, the lead ship of Arihant-class of submarines, was launched in 2009.
Once inducted, the submarine will help India complete its nuclear triad – the capability to respond to nuclear strikes from sea, land and air-based systems.
Talking about the trials of the first indigenously-built Scorpene submarine, Adm. Dhowan said the “endeavour was to see that the programme continues without any obstacle so that the commissioning of the first submarine is done next year as per the plan”.
Asked about the second indigenous aircraft carrier, Adm. 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 be embarked 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,” Adm. 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, Adm. Dhowan added that induction of amphibious aircraft is being discussed undeer the due procedures laid down for defence procurement.