New Delhi: India is set to launch its first nuclear submarine later this year which if successful will put the country in an extremely exclusive club.
The project codenamed the Advanced Technology Vessel has been crawling since the 1970s.
Reports now indicate that India has overcome the biggest problem or miniaturisation of a nuclear power plant that is to be mounted on a submarine hull.
There are whispers of Russian assistance with the mini nuclear plant that has been reportedly tested and validated at Kalpakkam.
The vessel will be launched in Vishakapatnam and sea trials for this submarine are slated to begin by 2010, and are expected to be fully operational by 2012.
The vessel displaces 6, 500 tonnes and can stay submerged for upto 100 days. Armed with guided missiles, it will have a crew of 70 people.
The last time the Indian Navy operated a nuclear submarine was in the late 1980s, when it leased a Russian Charlie class vessel.
India is also in negotiations to acquire two Russian-made nuclear submarines of the Akula class.