Thursday, December 5, 2013

DRDO Breakthrough in Canister Launch Technology, Agni-V Canister Launch in March-April 2014

Agni-5 second test on September 15, 2013. Photo Credit: DRDO

On December 5, 2013, The Hindu reported that recently DRDO successfully carried out a “Missile Ejection Test” (MET) using a dummy missile weighing 50 tons. Following the breakthrough, Agni-V would be launched from a canister in March-April, 2014 for its third test.

The MET validated critical newly developed technologies such as launcher-canister interface and effective sealing between the missile and gas generator. The missile exited the canister at the correct velocity and the inter-facing instruments, electronics and sensors worked perfectly. As the missile cleared the canister by 15m, the sensors accurately signaled first stage ignition to the missile computer.

Placing the missile in a hermetically sealed canister facilitates long term storage (10 years) without any maintenance.  DRDO has committed to make canister launch a feature of all its new land based strategic missiles, starting with Agni-V.

DRDO has designed a canister that can eject the 50-tonne missile 50 m in the air and fire the first stage. The missile canister is made of maraging steel allowing it to withstand the 300-t to 400-t shock generated when the 50-ton missile is ejected out.

In September 2012, ASL director of, Dr V G Sekharan, told Business Standard, "The gas pushes the Agni-V out, like a bullet from the barrel of a gun. In less than half a second, the 50-tonne missile clears the canister by 15-m, and that is when the rocket motor can safely ignite. In 30 seconds, the Agni-V breaks the sound barrier and, in 90 seconds, it has left the atmosphere."

The canister could be carried on railcars or on a 12x12 road-mobile truck. Carrying the missile on a road-mobile launcher gives more flexibility as it can be launched from any patch of level ground. The Agni-5 is tailored for road-mobility. The mobile launcher for Agni-V is being produced by the private industry.

Canister technology was initially developed for the naval variant of Brahmos missile. The technology was completely mastered during the development of the K-15 / Shourya missiles. However, canister launch technology doesn't scale well.. In order to develop a 50-t missile canister launch capability, the DRDO has set up a facility for MET  at Shamirpet near Hyderabad.

For additional details on the Agni-V please visit the link below

Agni-V LRBM - IDP Sentinel

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Indian Navy Proposes Round 2 of Kilo Class Submarine Overhaul

INS Sindhurakshak after its overhaul at Zvezdochka shipyard.

The Indian Navy (IN) intends to get four of its Kilo class subs overhauled in Zvezdochka shipyard in North Russia to extend their lives by another 10 years, Vice-Admiral Satish Soni, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command, said on Tuesday December 3, 2013. [via TOI]

Earlier, the General Director of the Russian submarine repair at Zvyozdochka, Vladimir S. Nikitin, told The Hindu that the shipyard was close to signing a contract for life-extension refit of two Indian Kilo-class submarines in 2015.

In January 2013, the Indian Navy (IN) completed the overhaul and upgrade of its 10 Kilo class (Project 887EKM) submarines under a deal signed in 2001.

Each upgrade cost $80 million and involved complete overhaul of the submarine and its hull structures; installation of an improved control system, sonar, electronic warfare system, and an integrated weapon control system. Additionally the subs are being equipped to launch Club-S missiles from its torpedo tubes.

The refit included support for the new version of Klub-S (3M54E1 anti-ship and 3M14E land attack) cruise missiles and over ten Indian and foreign-made systems including the Ushus hydro-acoustic (sonar) system and CSS-MK-2 radio communications system.

In addition, the boat's cooling system was modified, the Porpoise radar fitted and other work carried out "increasing the boat's military capacity and safety."

Two submarines - INS Sindhuvir and INS Sindhuraj - were modernized at the Admiralty Shipyard in St. Petersburg.

Later, five subs - INS Sindhukesari, INS Sindhuratna, INS Sindhugosh and INS Sindhuvijay and INS Sindhurakshak - were modernized at  - Zvyozdochka Shipyard in Severodvinsk.

Of the remaining 3 subs, one has already been overhauled in India, and another two are in the process of being overhauled.

Kilo class submarines were developed by the Rubin Central Design Bureau (St. Petersburg).

The Indian Navy also plans to extend the lives of its two HDW (Shishumar Class) submarines through an overhaul and refit at Mazagaon Docks.

For additional details on the Kilo class subs and their upgrades please visit the link below

Monday, December 2, 2013

Arihant SSBN Reload Nuclear Core Goes Critical

Arihant SSBN at the time of its launch in 2009

On December 2, 2013, Deccan Herald reported that the replacement core of Arihant’s nuclear reactor had attained criticality on October 11, 2013 at the secretive P4 facility  inside the Bhabha Atomic Research Center in Mumbai.

“The reload core would be fitted into the Arihant at the time of refueling, which may come after 7-8 years depending on the journey the submarine undertook. At the time of refueling, the entire core will be changed,” a nuclear scientist told Deccan Herald.

The core of a nuclear reactor is the component where controlled nuclear fission takes place producing heat, which is used to generate steam and, in turn, drive generators to produce electrical power to propel the submarine and meet its other energy requirements.

In November 2013, CNS DK Joshi told NDTV that INS Arihant would soon set sail for her sea trials and would be commissioned by end 2014.

In September 2013 Frontier India reported that diving trials of the sub have been deferred awaiting the arrival of a Bester-1 Deep Submergence Rescue vehicle (DSRV) ordered from Russia's Admiralty Shipyard.

Earlier in December 2010, the Indian Navy had initiated procurement of 2 free Swimming DSRVs by floating request for information. Russia's Admiralty Shipyards (Bester-1 rescue submersible) and Britain's James Fisher and Sons PLC are in contention for the contract.

The reactor of the submarine went critical on Friday, August 9, 2013. ( PTI )

For additional details on the Arihant please visit the link

INS Arihant SSBN (IDP Sentinel)