American scientist Dr. Hans Kristensen, who is an Associate Senior Fellow with the SIPRI Disarmament, Arms Control, and Non-proliferation Programme and Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), in his tweets, has claimed that New submarine cover constructed at Vizag that is 40m longer than previous submarine cover that was used for Arihant class submarines, and according to him, the new submarine cover is meant for India’s third nuclear powered ballistic submarine classified as S4.

S4 class submarine along with its sister class S4* (Star) are extended Arihant Class submarines that have an 8 missile tube which makes it 15-20 meters longer than the Arihant class submarines that are 112 meters long and carry only 4 missile tubes. S4 class submarines have 7000-ton displacements that are 1000 tons more than the Arihant class submarines.

Previously had reported that S4 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) were supposed to move from its dry docks at Ship Building Center in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh in 2020 and it seems after few months of delays, presumably due to the CCP virus pandemic it has finally now moved out to the new New submarine cover where it will be retrofitted in the fitting out dock as seen now from latest satellite images.

Fitting out dock is where vital interior works like installation of periscopes and other equipment for the comfort of the crew are carried out and slowly the nuclear reactor goes critical and begins operating with its internal power where power generation is gradually increased in phases before it is ready for harbor and sea trials.

INS Arighat, India’s second Arihant-class submarine also seems to be ready after it completed its sea trials last year for its official induction into the Indian Navy. S4 submarine once it enters its sea trials will be ready for induction into the Indian Navy in the next 2 years when we will also see S4* submarines also moved from its dry docks to the fitting docks before it commences its sea trials and is inducted sometime in 2025.

Completion of the S4 and S4* submarine will mean that construction work on the S5 Class of submarines will be officially underway. S5 Class of submarines are nearly double the size of the S4 class submarines and have a 13000-ton displacement. Both S4 and S4* submarines will be the class of the first submarines that will be armed with India’s next-generation nuclear-armed K-5 SLBM that has a range of over 5000km.

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