India’s lone nuclear submarine spends 10 months out of service after hatch accident

The Indian Navy’s first nuclear submarine INS Arihant has spent almost a year out of service after suffering serious damages following a procedural misstep.

The damages arose after the submarine’s crew forgot to close a hatch on the rear part of the submarine’s hull allowing water to enter and damage the submarine’s nuclear propulsion compartment, a report by the Hindu said.

Arihant has spent 10 months undergoing repairs, Hindu wrote citing navy sources. In addition to clean up and repair work, many pipes had to be cut open and replaced.

There is no information on the costs associated with the accident and the report does not state when the submarine could be expected to return to service.

The incident reportedly took place shortly after Arihant was commissioned into the Indian Navy in August 2016 as the first indigenously built submarine capable of carrying ballistic missiles.

Arihant displaces 6000-tonnes and carries the K-15 “Sagarika” short-range ballistic missiles while work on integrating and testing the intermediate range K-4 SLBM is reportedly still underway.

Arihant was launched on July 26, 2009 at Visakhapatnam while sea trials started six years later in 2015. The Indian Navy is planning to build between three and six submarines in the class depending on Arihant’s success, according to media reports.