Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP), the flagship unit of the country’s largest steel maker Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has developed a variant of the steel that was used on the construction of the INS Vikrant aircraft carrier that will ultimately be used in the development of the indigenous nuclear attack submarine program. A team from Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL) and the Indian Navy will be visiting the facility to inspect the testing facility that has been newly developed to commence testing of the new grade of steel.

Initially, steel plates developed will go through a series of stress and other testing parameters later small sections of the hull often called mock-up sections are developed to test welding specifications that have been finalized and laser scanners are used to see any anomaly or welding failure.

Nuclear attack submarines are required to have noise reduction as a fundamental driving parameter of their design to keep their ambient low-frequency noise levels on the lower side for which the grade of steel and the welding process used determines the maximum operating depth of the submarine and its average ambient low-frequency noise levels.

The SSBNs have a different primary function than SSN fast attack submarines and need different design features as the well different grades of steel in some sections. India is planning new technologies such as pump-jet propulsion and high-temperature, gas-cooled nuclear reactors for its nuclear attack submarine fleet to keep them sufficiently quiet to be militarily effective.

Indian Navy is targeting to have 95% indigenous content in the nuclear attack submarine that is under the design phase for which it has set in motion the process for the development of next-gen technology submarine technology with public-private sector companies. Indian Navy plans to field six next-gen nuclear attack submarines from 2035 onwards.

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