Indian Navy’s underwater capability is strengthened by a fourth submarine of the Scorpene class which will touch waters next week. The submarine is under construction at Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) Mumbai. It has completed its out fittings and is going to be launched on May 6 in the Arabian Sea.
INS Kalveri, the first Scorpene was already inducted in 2017. The two other submarines INS Khanderi and INS Karanj are in the advanced stages to join the Navy fleet. The last two subs INS Vagir and INS Vagsheer are in last stages of the assembly at MDL.
The contract to build six submarines in India was signed in 2006. The contract is signed between the French firm and Mazgaon Dock Limited . The first submarine was delivered by 2012, but the project witnessed repeated delays.
“On May 6, the submarine will touch waters for the first time. Then the sea trials will begin,” a Navy officer said.
The strength of the Indian Navy’s submarine fleet has dwindled. It ranges from a total of 21 submarines to 15 conventional submarines. One homemade Arihant class nuclear submarine and one Russian Akula class submarine is operating on lease. To make the situation worse, at a time, Indian navy is operating with half of its submarine fleet strength. Since most of the vessels are in the last leg of their active operational life or on mid-life upgrades. The matter raises serious concerns when compared with neighbouring China, which has a strength of 65 subs.
The Navy needs at least 24 submarines to meet the 30 year submarine building plan. It was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security months after Kargil conflict. The approved acquisition programme was divided into three sections: first, six Scorpene submarines to be procured under the Project 75; second, additional six more submarines to be built under Project 75 India, and third, remaining 12 to be built indigenously.
The state-of-the-art technology utilised for construction of the Scorpene class submarines has ensured superior stealth features. It includes advanced acoustic silencing techniques, low radiated noise levels, hydro-dynamic shape. Also increased capability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision guided weapons.
The Scorpene submarines can undertake various types of missions like anti-surface cum submarine warfare, intelligence gathering etc. The submarine is designed to operate in all conditions, provided it ensures interoperability with components of the Naval Task Force. It is a potent platform, marking a generational shift in submarine operations.
Besides enhancing Navy’s underwater capabilities, the Scorpene class submarine project will be a big leap towards India’s self reliance. Especially in the defence sector under the “Make in India” initiative. The Navy got its last Indian made submarine in 1990s when INS Shalki and INS Shankul were joined the fleet.
India got its first of the eight Foxtrot class submarines, also known as INS Kalvari, on December 8, 1967. It was commissioned at then Soviet Union’s naval base Riga in Latvia.
The 66-metre long submarine is made up of a special kind of high-tensile steel. It helps the warship withstand high yield stress allowing it to dive deeper. The submarine can operate at a depth of 300 metres under water and travel 1,020 km underwater. It can carry 18 torpedoes and tube-launched anti-ship missiles underwater or from the surface.
Source : Defence News India