India's navy is pushing to begin operational use of its initial ballistic missile submarine before the end of next year, the New Indian Express reported on Wednesday.
The INS Arihant is slated to undergo thorough vetting in open waters by mid-2013, prior to its formal placement on active duty. The 6,000-metric ton vessel is now in tests at India's Visakhapatnam navy facility.
Indian navy head Adm. D.K. Joshi stated: "We expect to have good news for the nation very soon.”
Most of the vessel's "harbor acceptance trials" would involve assessments of India's developmental K-15 and K-4 ballistic missiles, he said.
Once the Arihant assumes deterrent patrols, India would possess the capacity to deliver nuclear weapons by air, land and sea. New Delhi is barred from placing atomic armaments on the INS Chakra, a nuclear-fuel submarine on loan from Russia.