February 12, 2018

China Critical of Indian Nuclear Submarine's Major Accident

The following is part of a Chinese Global Times article of February 6, 2018 by "Beijing-based naval expert" Li Jie at http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1088479.shtml :

“...[India's first indigenous nuclear submarine] INS Arihant passed all trials in February 2016 and was commissioned into service in August [2016], making India the sixth country in the world to put a nuclear-armed submarine into operation. That was considered a milestone in the history of Indian Navy's development.

However, it was recently disclosed that the vessel had suffered a mishap after less than two years and not sailed for more than 10 months.

According to the Hindu, INS Arihant's propulsion compartment was damaged after water rushed in when a hatch on the rear side was left open by mistake. Since the accident, the submarine has been undergoing repairs and clean-up. Besides other repair work, many pipes had to be cut open and replaced. "Cleaning-up" of a nuclear submarine is a laborious task that requires a lot of effort, money and time.

The Indian submarine was built at a cost of $2.9 billion. Why did such a silly human error occur so as to damage it? The direct causes seem to be inadequate management, indiscipline and slackness among officers and soldiers of the Indian Navy.

...India has long dreamed of becoming a military power. It hopes to acquire more core defense technologies as soon as possible. However, most of India's weapons are purchased from major military powers including Russia, France, the UK and the US. The sources of India's weaponry and equipment are complicated.

Norms and technical standards that various countries follow to make weapons are different. Coupled with the fact that India is also developing indigenous weapons, it's fair to say that the country's arsenal is a hodgepodge.

...Improvement in military technology does not come about overnight. It is a long process that is not solely a military issue, but also related to a country's comprehensive strength, level of technology, manufacturing capability and quality of personnel. But the Indian military has been over-anxious for quick results in recent years and has paid too much attention to dealing with China. This will inevitably lead to adverse consequences."


(Illustration by Liu Rui/GT in Chinese Global Times article, February 6, 2018 at http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1088479.shtml)


All submarine services have accidents, some tragically fatal. China would do well to remember the fate of Chinese Navy’s (PLA-N's) Type 035 Ming submarine No. 361:

In 2003, “all 70 crew members [of 361] died when the submarine's diesel engine used up all the oxygen (because it failed to shut down properly) while the boat was submerged on April 16, 2003. The submarine, which was [extraordinarily] commanded by [a] Commodore Cheng Fuming (程福明), had been taking part in naval exercises east of Inner Changshan Islands in the Bohai Sea of Northeastern China. Along with its normal complement, the crew also included 13 trainee cadets from the Chinese naval academy.[3]

After the disaster, the crippled submarine drifted for ten days because it was on a silent, no-contact exercises. The boat was discovered by Chinese fishermen who noticed its periscope sticking above the surface on April 25, 2003.”

See a less critical Submarine Matters article of January 15, 2018 on INS Arihant's accident.  


Josh said...

Chicom hit piece. I'm sure that author never had any criticism of all the failures the Han and Xia classes went through, both of which were largely considered failures even inside China from what I understand.


twitter: @squid_jigger

Peter Coates said...

Hi Josh

Yes the Type 091 Han class SSN " is well known for having a noisy reactor and poor radiation shielding, which causes health hazards for her crew as nuclear radiation levels are higher than they should be aboard the submarine. The submarine is also inhibited by an inability to launch missiles while submerged. This creates a tactical disadvantage against opponents that have well-developed anti-submarine warfare systems.

Their design and weapons appear to be inadequate for confronting modern warships. It is believed that long refits have often meant that these submarines have spent more time in port than out at sea, greatly affecting their operational capacity." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_091_submarine#Criticism

Meanwhile the one known Type 092 Xia class test bed SSBN stayed "...pierside for so long there were rumors it had caught fire and sank in 1985" Meanwhile "A second [Xia] is thought to have been completed in 1982...It is suggested, though not confirmed, that this second Type 092 was lost in an accident in 1985." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_092_submarine

All facts or rumours China keeps quiet.