India’s first nuclear-powered submarine has been out of commission for the past 10 months after a crewman left a hatch open, according to a report Monday.
The Hindu news site reported that first Indian-build submarine, the INS Arihant, suffered major damage after hatch on the rear side was left open by mistake while it was at harbor, due to “human error.” This allowed seawater to flood into the vessel, necessitating almost a year’s worth of repairs in the dry dock.
The paper reported that “Arihant’s propulsion compartment was damaged after water entered it,” though the Indian Defense Ministry had not responded to The Hindu’s request for comment.
During the massive repairs to the 6,000 ton vessel many pipes had to be cut open and replaced as well as what a naval source described as, “cleaning up.”
The Arihant, whose name means “Slayer of Enemies,” was launched in July 26, 2009, and entered service in August 2016. It is part of India’s nuclear triad defense system and is powered by an 83 megawatts (111,305 hp) pressurized light-water reactor with enriched uranium fuel.
India had planned to build a fleet of five Arihant-class submarines, but those plans are currently under review because of cost concerns.
Last week India officially canceled a $500 million anti-tank missiles deal with Israel’s Rafael weapons manufacturer, just ahead of an official visit to New Delhi by by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. At the same time, Delhi said it would buy over 100 surface-to-air missiles.