Friday, July 10, 2009

Presentation on ATV breaks surface!

India’s nuclear submarine programme has been an open secret for well over two decades, despite the fact that successive governments has so far either denied its very existence or called it a mere technology demonstrator. But now the government’s official stamp on the top-secret project has finally surfaced through the stubborn blanket of secrecy.

Headlines Today has obtained access to a classified presentation made by India’s defence establishment to the National Security Advisory Board in 2008 drawing up full-fledged official overview of the top secret programme. Never before has a government document on the project, codenamed Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV), ever come out. The presentation completely debunks the government’s recent indications that the project is aimed at building a technology demonstrator.

In fact, in big bold type, the submarine is declared to be a “platform for mutiple strategic deterrent” – in other words, a vessel that will ultimately carry and be capable of firing nuclear-tipped intercontinental-range ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and have near limitless endurance out at sea. In that sense, the secret document once and for all settles all doubts about India’s nuclear deterrence at sea.

Vice Admiral (Retd) AK Singh, who, while in service, was associated with the secretive project said, “It’s a phenomenal and welcome milestone. The secrecy is not surprising. India has done what all other great nations have done when they build strategic assets of this kind. It’s only once the submarine hits the water that the secrecy goes, and that will happen. The submarine will soon be put into the water, and in time provide India a crucial second-strike capability.”

The submarine is scheduled to be launched – a technical term for flooding of its dry-dock and eased into open water – at the end of this month, though it is not yet certain if Vijay Diwas on July 26 will be the chosen date.

Strategic affairs analyst Brahma Chellaney, who has written in the past about India’s nuclear deterrent, said on the channel that the success of India’s nuclear submarine is hinged almost wholly on how successfully India can test and operationalise a submarine-launched ballistic missile with ranges that can touch the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Beijing. The presentation, in fact, makes it quite clear that the submarine will be a “platform for strategic position in line with GOI policy”.

“We must not jump the gun. It is critical at this stage to understand that the weapons platform for the submarine is what will make it a strategic asset,” Chellaney said.

The specifications and configuration of the submarine remain top secret, and the presentation makes specific mention of what goes into the boat, though it does establish that the submarine has been built with stealth physics characteristics, modern dynamics and modular architecture that will allow it to be upgraded with new and better systems easily in the future. Interestingly, after Headlines Today broadcast its report on the secret presentation, Defence Minister AK Antony declined to comment. He said, “I cannot comment on the country’s strategic capabilities,” which in itself is evolution from the tradition of absolute denial.


Anonymous said...

Nice of you to not divulge any secrets, Shiv.

Sid said...

if its such a secret, how the hell did u get your hands on it?

Anonymous said...

Needs MIRVed ICBMs with countermeasures to be taken seriously.

Amitabha Ghosh said...

The information is something which was already known to many and common knowledge in defence circles. Surprising is how did the presentation leak out? Are you holding it (the presentation) back for security reasons?

NJS said...

India need to start massive line of production of ATV submarines in fastrack.we need to stop high depletion in sub's fleet .

The Submariner said...

The profile looks more Graney than Akula.

Anonymous said...

Did they use MS-Paint to make the slide? Ridiculous, even our PR material is sub-standard compared to west.

Anonymous said...

this ATV is biggest farce in india's history what a single ATV submarine makes a difference in near future as far as strategic implications except being a testbed for future SSN

and our navy also delaying more diesel subs to be acquired and these diesel subs are more important at this time than ATV

Anonymous said...

according to prasun k sengupta there is no russian involvement in ATV development but its woth to think that india can't even make a diesel submarine on their own even after tech transfer for type209 or scorpene than how can they construct a nuke sub without foreign help

also to note that scorpene is late for 2 years that is till the end of 2014 so no submarine inducted in 14 years from 2000 to 2014

antony should hang himself

Anonymous said...

^^^^ Visit to find out what the nickname of prasun sengupta is!!

rakeshroy87 said...

anonymous is right, at a time when chinese submarime fleet is massively expanding india needs to play the catch up game to protect its sphere of influenec
why is the submarine tender taking so much of time to come out
i read in TOI that a chinese nuclear sub has asked for permission to dock at kochi...hey shiv is that true??

Anonymous said...

Good work...I am proud..I can see you're working hard, in my happy

Ankur said...

Lol. Who are these people above? Journalists do not just "get" presentations out of thin air. There are channels, and it is in India's interest to appear to be "second strike capable" - and who in their right minds will want to test that claim?

Either way - thanks for the update Shiv! Keep this, the LCA/LCH and the MMRCA stuff coming!

sudeep said...

This is an awe inspiring achievement. We can enrich uranium, design a miniaturized reactor, launch a ballistic weapon from under water..

And contrary to what others say, there is at least some very specific information in what Shiv posted, that is, its an SSBN not an SSN.

Many miles still to go, but hats off to the Indian Navy and DRDO.

Anonymous said...

according to prasun k sengupta there is no russian involvement in ATV development but its woth to think that india can't even make a diesel submarine on their own even after tech transfer for type209 or scorpene than how can they construct a nuke sub without foreign help

This is a valid argument. The ATV is not really a fighting sub, it is just a testbed for small nuclear power plant. All the sensors etc are imported, as is most of the quipment used to assemble the sub.

Long way to go. Very long.

Anonymous said...

hi shiv,
thanx 4 duh post...
wonder if u will be there 2 report the historic launch of ATV at Vizag on 26th jul or 15th aug as the case maybe.

Anonymous said...

prasun sengupta - LOL. lets not even compare him to this blog. aroor may not know many things but he tries to make an attempt to share only what he knows apart from some reckless drdo bashing which he will grow out of once age sets in and he understands what challenges drdo faces. on the other hand, sengupta just makes stuff up. he is not particularly well read or well traveled either but manages to make it appear he is both. he should concentrate on honesty not publicity.

Anonymous said...

@Prasun Sengupta - i am a fan of your blog and also LIVEFIST and now have two contradicting stories - that u say is a technology demonstrator and SHIV AROOR saying it will be operational, although he only cites platform for strategic position in line with GOI policy as the reason for why he thinks the ATV will be an operational SSN. So would you please give some light? And I will appreciate if SHIV AROOR too can elaborate on why he says it will be operational? Again that statement is very vague and can mean anything. Pls come defend your stand PRASUN SENGUPTA. Many Thanks for the storey SHIV AROORji.

Prasun Sengupta said...

Copied from Prasun Sengupta blog. FYI he maintaines that ATV is only a tech demonstrator not a operational sub. Hopefully SHIV AROOR can explain:

1) Firstly, how does the expose become an exclusive item when it was THE NATION newspaper which first published the story about the expectated July 26 visit to Vizag of the Indian PM purpotedly to see the ATV for himself? Does it mean that HEADLINES TODAY was the first in India to quote THE NATION and re-publish that story?

2) When in the past both HEADLINES TODAY and INDIA TODAY have referred to the to-be-leased Akula-2 SSN as INS Chakra and the ATV's design being reportedly derived from that of the Charlie 1-class SSN, then how come the ATV is being suddently referred to as INS Chakra and it is now being claimed that the ATV's design is based on that of the Akula-1 SSGN? Why this inconsistency?

3) The single page of the PowerPoint presentation (if we are to believe that it runs into 9 pages) says the presentation is 'Restricted'. If this is so, then by no means is the presentation is out-of-bounds as far as secrecy goes and it was meant for only a select audience and was not covered by the Official Secrets Act.

4) Which then brings us to the presentation itself. The 9-page presentation by no means constitutes anything resembling a project status report, but rather one of 'desired capabilities' that will emerge out of ATV-related R & D efforts. This was also confirmed some months back by Ret'd Admiral Arun Prakash who clearly stated in one of its OP-ED articles that the ATV will NOT be an operational vessel but it will serve as the testbed from which designs for operational SSNs/SSBNs will be derived. In conclusion, therefore, the 9-page PowerPoint presentation is a generic explanation about about the desired sea-based nuclear deterrent's salient points, rather than a detailed explanation on the ATV itself.

5) I have been dabbling in such matters since 1987 and I have yet to see a techical presentation of a submarine design that shows a submarine's silhouette without the vessel's propellers or mast-mounted radar/periscopes/antennae. Therefore, the silhouette of the ATV shown in the PowerPoint presentation is just a generic graphic illustration that does not reflect the true design or dimensions of either the ATV or the projected operational SSNs and SSBNs.

6) If indeed we are to believe that the Govt of India has spent thus far only US$2.3 billion on the ATV, then would seem that Indian public-listed companies (and not the established MoD-owned shipyards) like Larsen & Toubro are in the ridiculous but enviable position of being in possession of submarine design-cum-manufacturing expertise that is unchallenged and unbeatable! For, if established submarine manufacturers like BAE Systems and DCNS can spend more than US$8 billion on designing and fabricating new-generation SSGNs and that too in an environment where there are no technology denials and restrictions, then how come Indian companies like L & T, faced with technology-denial regimes and no prior expertise in fabricating SSGNs and SSBNs, can charge only US$2.3 billion for one vessel? If that's the reality, then it should be BAE Systems, DCNS, GE Electric Boat Division, Sevmash, Fincantieri and HDW that should be knocking at India's doors seeking such dirt-cheap ToT from L & T, instead of MDL seeking ToT from DCNS for fabricating far smaller SSKs! Does this make any sense to anyone? It is like saying someone has the technology and expertise for making Lincoln Cadillacs but that someone needs to import the manufacturing expertise for making TATA Nanos.
With that I rest my case.

Anonymous said...

Prasun K Sengupta has posted an image of Akula 2 model on his blog claming it to be the SSGN specificaly designed for India (follow on to ATV).

On being confronted with this image of Nerpa/Akula 2 he deleted my posts.

Also read his comment here at SATURDAY, JULY 11, 2009 11:50:00 AM

Either he is drunk at this late hour or he takes everyone for a fool.

Anonymous said...

'Chor' machaye shor !

Anonymous said...

prasun says he has observed submarines since 1987. problem he has also been scratching his arse since 1987 because he appears to know NOTHING about them. the bloody model he has put on his blog is a modified Akula-2. there is no debate about it. and he is trying to pass it off as India's SSGN. prasun is the crown king of india's desi dork media, if there ever was one. he should be fined for schlepping out such bullshit with such unstinting regularity. and poor force mag laps up all his crap.

Anonymous said...

prasun owns a two-bit MRO in malaysia or some such third world country. he has the world's largest collection of armament brochures, which is why he keeps schlepping old, grainy scans at us every chance he gets. he makes a living mugging up weapons specs and getting them wrong almost every single time he regurgitates stuff about things he thinks he knows about. i don't mean to bugger him too much, but i have observed him for many years, and he is a fink. his only interest in defence is money. and he has learnt that knowing a thing or two about weapons and systems can be a good conversation starter with armanent manufacturers. otherwise, he's just a common dhalla. nothing wrong with that. it's just his masquerade that i hate.

Anonymous said...

Can you ever prove, or tell of a situation where Prasun Sengupta has ever been wrong in predictions? Never since his inroads into this sector since 1984.

Please understand that by running his blog and answering questions, he does not make a cent.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

in these days of "oye lucky lucky oye", prasun's new monicker should be "superchor". hahahaha

fighterclass said...

Anonymous said...

Can you ever prove, or tell of a situation where Prasun Sengupta has ever been wrong in predictions? Never since his inroads into this sector since 1984.

Please understand that by running his blog and answering questions, he does not make a cent.

Thank you.

4:11 PM

ya ?? show me one prediction that was right ?

there are other motives than making money. being famous for example.

Anonymous said...

1. Prasun Sengupta said LCH will be delayed past March 09 and happeed exactly

2. Prasun Sengupta said way back that Tejas will eventually use a EL/M-2052 not the DRDO PAR. Proved true.

I said the above without thinking much. If I think harder many examples will surface. Now since I gave u 2 scenarios, you give me scenarios where what he said been untrue and I will leave.


Anonymous said...

To give you an example of Prasun Sengupta's vivid imagination here is an extract from his article on Barak 8 published in FORCE.

"The Barak-2 LR-SAM, also known as Barak-8 within Israel, will make use of a novel nose-mounted dual guidance system: an active phased-array radar for guidance over the final 30km terminal phase of its flight; and a miniaturised, gimbal-mounted imaging infra-red seeker using an indium antimonide staring focal plane array operating in the 3 to 5 micron wavelength band.[ This is actually IAI Stunner's guidance] During the initial fly-out phase of flight, the Barak-2/LR-SAM’s seeker window will remain covered with a two-piece clamshell protection shroud. Metal bladders installed in the shroud will be inflated to eject the protective shroud before the combined seekers initiate target acquisition.[This is the mechanism of Rafael's Iron Dome inteseptor called Tamir]"

Barak 8 according to IAI website only uses an ARH seeker.
Bold comments are inserted by me.

Anonymous said...

Here again Prasun boldly presented Stunner as Barak NG untill he was confronted with the image of Barak-8ER from Paris Air Show.

"Both the Barak-8 MR-SAM and Barak-NG LR-SAM are being marketed separately by IAI and RAFAEL, although they're both jointly developed by IAI and RAFAEL. For marketing purposes both companies have given different names to the two missiles. Therefore, for IAI the names are Barak-8 and Barak-NG, while RAFAEL refers to them as MR-SAM and Stunner."

He has deleted a lot of replys from this post, however the Stunner image posted at the top is still named "Barak-NG LR SAM".

esoteric said...

India should increase SU-MKI production rather than going in for 126 MRCA. Make 100 more sukhoi's and reduce the RFP to 100 aircraft