Submarines: India

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Submarine fleet: India; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, August 25, 2016

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India's submarine fleet


The Times of India 2013/08/


India has just seven to eight aging conventional submarines

India can now boast of just 8 aging conventional subs

Pak Has 5 New Ones, May Get 6 More; China’s Leagues Ahead

Rajat Pandit |TNN

Times of India 2013/08/20

New Delhi: If India goes to war today, it will have just seven to eight aging conventional submarines to deploy against enemy forces. This deeply blunts the country’s underwater combat edge against Pakistan, which already has five relatively new conventional submarines and is angling to get six more advanced vessels from China. Beijing, of course, is leagues ahead with 47 dieselelectric submarines and eight nuclear-powered ones.

The INS Sindhurakshak disaster last week, which blew a big hole in the Indian Navy’s operational capabilities, has further compounded the problems. Defence minister A K Antony admitted in Parliament on Monday that “extensive checks on weapon-related safety systems and audit of standard operating procedures (SOPs) on all operational submarines have been ordered’’.

The minister also confirmed the “explosion” on board INS Sindhurakshak was due to the “possible ignition of armament’’ in the vessel’s forward section. TOI had last week reported that “inadvertent mishandling of ammunition’’ on the submarine, which was all set to leave on an extended patrol with a full weapons load of 18 cruise missiles and torpedoes, had emerged as the most probable reason behind the sinking of the over 2,500-tonne submarine.

“The cause of ignition is, however, yet to be established. Visual and forensic examination would throw more light on the possible cause of ignition. This will be possible only after the submarine is afloat and de-watered,’’ said Antony.

The minister, however, did not dwell upon the fact that the Navy is left with only 13 aging diesel-electric submarines — 11 of them over 20 years old — due to political and bureaucratic apathy in pushing long-delayed submarine construction projects under his watch.

Four of the 13 submarines — nine Kilo-class of Russian origin and four HDW of German-origin — are undergoing “a long refit’’ to extend theiroperational lives. “Two kiloclass or Sindhugosh series submarines are at Hindustan Shipyard Ltd at Visakhapatnam, while two HDW or Shishumar-class vessels are at the Mumbai naval dockyard for the long refits,’’ said a source.

The Navy does have one nuclear-powered submarine INS Chakra, taken on a 10-year lease from Russia last year, but it’s not armed with nuclear-tipped missiles due to international treaties. INS Chakra can serve as a deadly ‘hunter-killer’ of enemy submarines and warships with its 300-km range Klub-S landattack cruise missiles as well as other missiles and advanced torpedoes.

Pakistan Navy, incidentally, is the first force in the Indian Ocean region to have submarines equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP) in the shape of three French Agosta-90B vessels.

An ageing submarine fleet

The Times of India 2013/08/15 Aging subs going the MiG-21 way? Rajat Pandit | DEFENCE EDITOR

The Navy was to induct 12 new diesel-electric submarines by 2012, with another dozen to follow in the 2012-2030 timeframe. This was the 30-year submarine building plan approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) way back in July 1999. But the Navy has not inducted even one of the 24 planned submarines till now, and is forced to soldier on with just 14 aging conventional vessels.

Sources said INS Sindhurakshak, after the Aug 2013 accident, is “a clear write-off ’’. Of the 13 submarines left now, as many as 11 are over 20 years old. The setback comes when China and Pakistan are systematically bolstering their underwater combat capabilities, with the former being armed with over 55 submarines.

‘Aging underwater arm a worry’

The navy is steadily modernizing in the surface warship and aircraft arenas. But our aging and depleting underwater combat arm is a big worry. But it also must be kept in mind that INS Sindhurakshak’s accident is the first such incident we have had in over four decades of operating submarines,’’ said a senior officer.

India’s four German HDW or Shishumar-class submarines were inducted between 1986 and 1994, while eight of the 10 Russian Kilo or Sindhugosh-class vessels were inducted between 1986 and 1991. The last two Russian submarines — INS Sindhurakshak and INS Sindhushastra —were inducted in 1997 and 2000, respectively.

Even CAG reports have alarmingly held that the operational availability of the Indian submarines is as low as 48% due to the aging fleet and prolonged refit and life-extension programmes. With the design life of a submarine being 25-30 years, projections show just six-seven of the existing submarines will be fully operational by 2020.

Successive governments’ sheer inability to take decisions in time and gross project mismanagement — with inevitable huge cost escalations — has led to this dismal situation. The first of the six new Scorpene submarines being built at Mazagon Docks will be ready only by 2016-17 at the earliest, over four years behind schedule. The other five — under this Rs 23,000 crore programme called “Project-75” — are scheduled to progressively follow by 2020-21.

The next six of the remaining 18 submarines are yet to be even ordered. Despite being granted “acceptance of necessity” in November 2007, “Project-75India” to construct six advanced stealth submarines, armed with both land-attack missile capabilities and airindependent propulsion for greater underwater endurance, is still stuck in political apathy and red-tape.

Another critical concern is that the navy has rudimentary submarine rescue facilities. The force’s endeavour to procure two deep-submergence rescue vessels (DSRVs) or “mini submarines”, which “mate” with disabled submarines underwater to rescue trapped sailors from depths up to 610 metres, has been stuck for over 15 years.

The navy does have diving support ships like INS Nireekshak to help in such situations, but they are useful at relatively shallow depths.


By 2013, 63% of India’s subs eligible to be retired: CAG

11 of 13 remaining subs are over 20 years old. A sub is expected to have a life of about 25 years

Project of building six Scorpene subs already 4 years late

Building of 6 stealth subs yet to take off. It will take over 10 years for the first to roll out

Not even 1 new sub inducted despite 1999 plan of 12 new subs by 2012, another 12 by 2030

Even if some Scorpene subs are commissioned by 2020, India will be short of minimum 18 needed


Explosions within the ill-fated submarine led to its sinking in August 2013

1997 | Indian navy inducts INS Sindhurakshak, one of 10 in Kiloclass submarines bought from Russia between 1986 & 2000

February 2010 | Fire in its battery compartment kills one sailor

August 2010 | Submarine goes for re-fit to Russia’s Zvezdochka dock. Is equipped with cruise missile systems

Jan 2013 | Refit completed

April 27, 2013 | Sub reaches India

August 14, 2013 | Sub sinks following massive explosion and fire with [18] and officers trapped inside

The submarine had suffered two explosions in 2010 in which one sailor was killed and two others injured. The 2010 accident was caused by rising hydrogen levels while its batteries were being recharged. The Navy chief said on 14 Aug 2013 that the sub’s batteries had been charged three days before.

The $113m submarine had been upgraded at a cost of $156m

Sunken sub refit cost $156m

Sindhurakshak’s Upgrade Costlier Than Original Price Of $113m

Rajat Pandit TNN

The Times of India 2013/08/15

New Delhi: The refit expenditure on INS Sindhurakshak was much more than its original procurement cost. When it was inducted in December 1997, the ninth of 10 Kilo-class submarines to be inducted by the navy, INS Sindhurakshak cost $113 million.

The “mid-life medium refit-cum-upgrade” of the 3,000-tonne vessel, carried out between September 2010 and January 2013 at Severodvinsk in Russia, came at a price tag of $156 million. The submarine finally reached India on April 27 2013 after a long journey following the refit and sea-acceptance trials. Since then, it had also undergone certification by naval inspection authorities of the Western Naval Command.

Sources said the refit included integrating the Klub-S land-attack missile complex onto the submarine, basically upgrading the vessel from only being capable of firing torpedoes to also possessing the ability to fire missiles from the six tubes fitted on to the “boat’s nose”. The cruise missile, which has a strike range of almost 300-km, was supposed to be the deadly 3M-14E land-attack variant.

“Then, the Sonar USHUS, a CCS Mark-II communication suite, air-conditioning plants in the machinery and control rooms, among other things, were also fitted onto the submarine. Now, all that is sunk,” said a source.

Of the 10 Kilo-class submarines, only the last one, the INS Sindhushastra, had come with the “tube-launched missile capability” in July, 2000. The others, like INS Sindhuvijay, INS Sindhuratna, INS Sindhuvir and INS Sindhugosh, too, have been refitted with the Klub-S missiles in Russia over the last several years to make them “even more potent underwater weapons”.

There have been glitches during the upgrade programme. India, for instance, had earlier refused to take delivery of INS Sindhuvijay after the allimportant Klub-S missiles had failed to work in six consecutive test firings at the Barents Sea test range in September-November 2007.

INS Sindhurakshak, in particular, has also had its share of problems. On February 26, 2010 one sailor had been killed and another two injured during an explosion in the battery pit of the submarine at Vizag when its batteries were being re-charged. “The accident was due to high concentration of hydrogen gas in the third compartment of the battery,” said the source.

India’s Submarine strength: 2017

Rajat Pandit|India kick-starts `mother of all underwater def deals'|Jul 24 2017 : The Times of India (Delhi)

India’s Submarine strength: 2017
From The Times of India

See graphic:

India’s Submarine strength: 2017

2019: Scorpene class Vela launched

May 6, 2019: The Times of India

  • The INS Vela is the fourth of the six submarines of Scorpene class that has completed its out fittings at the Mazagon Dock.
  • The submarine has been named 'Vela' after an earlier submarine, which was the lead submarine, of the erstwhile Vela class, the second batch of the Foxtrot class submarines acquired from USSR.
  • The fifth Scorpene class submarine will also be launched soon. MDL recently reported an annual turnover of Rs 4,500 crore.
  • The out fittings were completed under a 2005 contract signed with France's DCNS — now rebranded as the Naval Group — as part of Indian Navy's Project-75.
  • The first submarine was scheduled to be delivered by 2012, but the project witnessed repeated delays.
  • Of the six submarines, INS Kalvari was commissioned in December last year while INS Khanderi and INS Karanj are in advanced stages to join the Navy fleet
  • The remaining two — INS Vagir and INS Vagsheer are in the "advanced stages of manufacturing" at the Mazagon Dock.
  • The development assumes significance as Chinese ships increase their presence in the Indian Ocean. It said China's submarine force will grow between 65 and 70 by 2020.
  • There is also the larger threat on water, including guided-missile cruisers, guided-missile destroyers, and guided-missile frigates, aircraft carriers, amphibious warships and more.
  • Britain's Daily Mirror reported that talks are underway for India to buy detailed plans for the 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier and build an indigenous version based on it called INS Vishal in 2022.

Conventional submarines

2017: INS Kalvari, India’s first Scorpene submarine

17 years on, Navy gets its first new conventional submarine, September 22, 2017: The Times of India

India will soon commission its first new conventional submarine in over 17 years, with the first Scorpene submarine INS Kalvari being delivered to the Navy by Mazagon Docks on Thursday . The second submarine of this class, INS Khanderi, is slated for delivery by December.

The delivery of INS Kalvari (tiger shark), the first of the six French diesel-electric Scorpene submarines being built under the Rs 23,652 crore `Project-75' at Mazagon Docks in Mumbai, is significant because the Navy currently has just 13 aging diesel-electric submarines, with just half of them operational at any given time. The force needs at least 18 conventional submarines.

India also has two nuclearpowered subs, INS Arihant and INS Chakra, but the latter doesn't have nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles as it has been acquired on lease from Russia.The Navy needs at least six nuclear-powered attack subs and four nuclear-powered subs with nuclear-tipped missiles.

The Scorpene project has, of course, faced huge time and cost overruns. INS Kalvari, for instance, was to be ready by 2012, with the other five coming by 2017. Now, with the third submarine, INS Karanj, to be “launched“ later this year, all the six will be inducted by 2020 or so.

Moreover, even the tender for the long-delayed Project-75India for the six new stealth submarines, with both land-attack missile capabilities and air-independent propulsion for greater underwater endurance, is yet to be even floated.

Earlier this year, India finally kick-started this “mother of all underwater deals“ after a 10-year delay , with arms majors from France, Germany , Russia, Sweden, Spain and Japan being asked to submit initial proposals for the estimated Rs 70,000 crore ($10.9 billion) project to build the six submarines in collaboration with an Indian shipyard.

Nuclear submarine

India 6th nation to have a nuclear sub'

From the archives of The Times of India

India is now 6th nation to have a nuclear sub

India’s long hunt for a nuclear submarine is finally over. But it will take the country another 10-12 months to get an operational nuclear weapon triad — the capability to fire nukes from land, air and sea.

India became the world’s sixth country after the US, Russia, France, the UK and China to operate nuclear-powered submarines when the Russian Akula-II class submarine ‘K-152 Nerpa’ was commissioned into Indian Navy as INS Chakra on a 10-year lease under a secretive almost $1-billion contract inked in 2004.

The 8,140-tonne INS Chakra, however, is not armed with long-range nuclear missiles, like the Russian SS-N-21 cruise missiles with an over 2,500km range, due to international nonproliferation treaties like the Missile Technology Control Regime.

‘INS Chakra can outrun any Pak, Chinese subs’

The Indian nuclear triad’s elusive underwater leg will only come when the homegrown nuclear submarine, the over 6,000-tonne INS Arihant equipped to carry a dozen K-15 (750km) or four K-4 (3,500km) ballistic missiles, becomes fully operational by early-2013. India has the land and air legs in the shape of the Agni series of missiles and fighter jets capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Defence ministry sources said INS Chakra, commissioned at the Primorye region in far south-eastern Russia in a ceremony attended by top Indian and Russian officials, would soon set sail for India. It will be based at Visakhapatnam, next to where INS Arihant is slated to begin extensive sea trials after the ongoing harbour-acceptance trials.

2012: India gets a nuclear-powered submarine

From the archives of The Times of India

Rajat Pandit

Talks on with Russia for 2nd N-sub: Antony

The 8,140-tonne steel shark floated menacingly, tethered to the jetty, as if waiting to break free. Soon, it will, to prowl silently underwater for extended periods hunting for enemies to track and kill. The nuclear-powered attack submarine INS Chakra, with lethal “hunter-killer’’ and intelligence-gathering capabilities, was formally inducted into Indian Navy on a 10-year lease from Russia at a cost of around $1 billion on Wednesday. Defence minister A K Antony, Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma and Russian ambassador Alexander M Kadakin, among others, all extolled the submarine as a “shining example’’ of the deep and abiding “strategic partnership’’ between India and Russia during the “welcome’’ ceremony at the highly-guarded Ship-Building Centre here. INS Chakra, with a dived displacement of 12,000-tonne, will, however, not give India its long-awaited third leg of the nuclear weapons triad since it’s not armed with longrange strategic missiles due to international treaties.

That will only happen after the country’s own homegrown nuclear submarine INS Arihant, armed with the nuclear-tipped K-15 missiles, is inducted into service sometime next year. But INS Chakra, propelled by a 190MW nuclear reactor for a maximum speed of around 30 knots, will give India the capability to deploy a potent weapons delivery platform, armed as it is with 300-km Klub-S land-attack cruise missiles and advanced torpedoes, at a place of its choosing at long distances with lot of stealth. “We can outrun and overcome any adversary in our neighbourhood,’’ said a confident INS Chakra’s captain P Ashokan. Admiral Verma said the 100-metre INS Chakra had propelled India into a select group of countries like the US, Russia, France, the UK and China, to operate nuclearpowered submarines. China’s growing maritime presence in the Indian Ocean region (IOR), coupled with its increasing assertiveness in the entire Asia-Pacific region, is obviously a big worry for India. Antony downplayed the China angle as is his wont. “Induction of INS Chakra, or other warships, is not aimed at any country,’’ he said.

Nuclear-powered submarines can operate underwater for long periods, with normal patrols stretching to up to 70 days, unlike the conventional diesel-electric submarines that have to surface every three to four days to get oxygen to recharge their batteries.

2014: INS Arihant's maiden sea trials

India's 1st nuclear-submarine gears up for maiden sea trials at Vizag

The Times of India

Nuclear submarine(1970s-2014), INS Arihant

Rajat Pandit, December 15, 2014

INS Arihant

India's first indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant is now finally all set to make its maiden foray into the wide open sea. The 6,000-tonne vessel, with an 83 MW pressurized light-water reactor at its core for propulsion, is slated to begin its sea trials off Visakhapatnam within the next few days. INS Arihant, or the “annihilator of enemies, and its two under-construction follow-on vessels are the critical missing link in the country's longstanding pursuit to have an operational nuclear weapons triad -the capability to fire nukes from land, air and sea.

While the Agni ballistic missiles and fighter-bombers constitute the first two legs, the triad's missing underwater leg has for long troubled the country's strategic establishment. Nuclear-powered submarines armed with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles (SSBNs), after all, are considered the triad's most difficult to-detect and effective leg. There is also growing concern over China stepping-up its submarine activity in the Indian Ocean.

The much-awaited mile stone on the INS Arihant front comes just a fortnight after Navy chief Admiral Robin Dhowan said it would “very soon” head for sea trials. “The submarine's miniaturized reactor, which went critical in August 2013, has now attained 100% power. The power had to be slowly stepped up, just 510% at a time, with systematic pressure and other checks on all pipelines and machinery being conducted every time,” said a source.

Fingers are now being kept crossed that there are no major hiccups during INS Arihant's sea-acceptance trials (SATs), which can take around 18 months, after the long-drawn harbour-acceptance trials (HATs) at the shipbuilding centre at Vizag. The submarine will first undertake several surface sorties before it dives for a full range of underwater sorties. The SATs will also include test-firing of its K-15 ballistic missiles (750-km range), which has so far been tested only from submersible pontoons around a dozen times.

2016: INS Arihant commissioned, not ready for deployment

The story of INS Arihant, 1970s-2016
The Times of India
The making of India’s indigenous nuclear submarine
The Times of India

Arihant `not yet fully ready' for deployment, Oct 18 2016 : The Times of India

Indigenous Sub Commissioned, 2 More On Anvil

India is finally close to operationalising its long-awaited nuclear weapons triad -the capability to launch nukes from land, air and sea. Although the landbased Agni ballistic missiles as well as fighter bombers configured to deliver nuclear weapons have been available for a while, the triad's missing -and most potent -sea leg has been a big operational gap till now.

Sources said in Oct 2016 that the country's first indigenously-constructed nuclear submarine INS Arihant (which means annihilator of enemies), propelled by an 83 MW pressurised light-water reactor at its core, was commissioned into service in August after extensive sea trials since December 2014.

INS Arihant's 750km and 3,500km missiles may be somewhat dwarfed by SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missiles) with ranges of well over 5,000km with the US, Russia and China, but the completion of the nuclear-tri ad is critical for a country like India, which has a clearly declared policy of “no first-use“ of nuclear weapons. It makes its second-strike capability much more credible.

A pre-emptive enemy strike can conceivably take out a rival's nuclear missiles and fighter bombers. That is why an SSBN, capable of lurking underwater for months without being detected, is considered the most effective and deadly platform for a retaliatory nuclear strike. The 6,000-tonne Arihant is, however, “not yet fully ready“ to be deployed for “deterrent patrols“ with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles in its four silos, said the sources. Both the defence ministry as well as the Navy refused to say anything on the matter, holding that it was “a strategic project“ directly controlled by the PMO.

INS Arihant has undergone a whole host of surface and “dived“ sorties during its trials to prove its sea-worthiness. But the full weapons integration with the “K“ (named after former president APJ Abdul Kalam) series of SLBMs will take some more time. While the K-15 SLBM has a 750-km range, the K-4 can go up to 3,500-km.

INS Arihant is the first of three such SSBNs (nuclearpowered submarines with long-range nuclear ballistic missiles) being constructed under the secretive ATV (advanced technology vessel) programme launched decades ago. The construction of the second one, INS Aridhaman, is also almost complete now, with its delivery slated for 2018.

Apart from both Pakistan and China having largely ambiguous nuclear weapons policies, the growing pres ence of Chinese nuclear submarines in the Indian Ocean region has become a major source of concern for the Indian security establishment over the last couple of years.

INS Kalvari (diesel-electric Scorpene)

May 2016: trial runs

The Times of India, May 2, 2016

1999-2016: The building of the Indian submarine ; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, May 2, 2016

India's first new conventional submarine in 16 years finally began its sea trials off Mumbai on Sunday giving much-needed fillip to the Navy , which is battling to retain its underwater combat edge over Pakistan, even while being confronted with Chinese submarines popping up all over the Indian Ocean. But the diesel-electric Scorpene submarine --to be commissioned as INS Kalvari (tiger shark) by 2016-end -is like an underwater predator without teeth, a gun without bullets, as of now. The induction of its “primary weapons“, heavy-weight torpedoes, remains enmeshed in the still-exploding VIP helicopter scam. The Rs 1,800 crore-acquisition of `Black Shark' torpedoes from Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica's subsidiary Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquel to arm the six French-origin Scorpene submarines being constructed at Mazagon Docks has been hanging fire for several years. First, the acquisition project was put on hold after German Atlas Elektronik Gmbh complained of “irregularities“ in the selection process after the Black Shark torpedo was chosen over its Seahake torpedo. Then, after a special technical oversight committee gave it the go-ahe ad, the VIP helicopter scam erupted to derail the process once again, as earlier reported by TOI.

In effect, INS Kalvari will be inducted with tube-launched SM-39 Exocet anti-ship missiles but its main weapon to maintain stealth will be missing. The Rs 23,652 crore Scor pene project, with contracts being inked way back in October 2005, has faced huge time and cost overruns. The first Scorpene, for instance, was to be ready by 2012, with the other five coming by 2017.

“INS Kalvari commissioned by December 2016, with the other five following at nine-month intervals till 2020. Its first surface sea sortie will be followed by a barrage of dive, noise and weapons trials. But the trials will have to be halted during the JuneJuly monsoons due to choppy waters,“ said an official.

The Navy , meanwhile, is down to just 13 ageing conventional submarines, nine of them of Russian-origin Sindhughosh-class and four German or Shishumar-class.While a submarine's prescribed design life is 25 years, 10 of them have already crossed that mark.

Incidentally, it was the Vajpayee-led NDA government that in July 1999 had approved a 30-year submarine building plan for induction of 24 submarines in a phased manner.

Moreover, the tender for the long-delayed Project-75India for six new-generation stealth submarines, with both land-attack missile capabilities and air-independent propulsion for greater underwater endurance, is yet to be even floated. When P-75I was accorded “acceptance of necessity“ in November 2007, its estimated cost was around Rs 50,000 crore. Now, it will cost much more.

2017: 1st new diesel-electric submarine in 17 years commissioned

Rajat Pandit, India’s 1st new sub in 17 yrs to be commissioned, December 14, 2017: The Times of India

Submarines India has; Submarines India needs; Ongoing projects regarding commissioning of submarines; What China, Pakistan and the US have, as in December 2017
From: Rajat Pandit, India’s 1st new sub in 17 yrs to be commissioned, December 14, 2017: The Times of India

Armed With Missiles & Torpedoes, It Will Be A Deadly Predator

“Sea denial” is the name of the game for conventional diesel-electric submarines. Their primary role is to interdict an enemy’s trade and energy routes, block its ports, sink its warships, and sometimes attack land targets with long-range cruise missiles.

Nuclear-powered submarines armed with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles, called SSBNs in naval parlance are all about strategic deterrence. While India took a major step forward to complete its nuclear weapons triad by commissioning its first small SSBN called INS Arihant last year, to add to the existing Agni land missiles and fighter-bombers, its old and depleting conventional underwater combat arm has been a huge worry for the last several years.

So, when PM Narendra Modi commissions India’s first new diesel-electric submarine in over 17 years in Mumbai on Thursday, it will be a red-letter day for the beleaguered Navy. The force, after all, is grappling with just 13 ageing conventional submarines, only half of them operational at any given time.

The new 1,565-tonne submarine, named INS Kalvari (tiger shark, a deadly deep-sea predator) after the first-ever submarine inducted by India from Russia in December 1967, is to be followed by five of her Scorpene sisters under the Rs 23,652 crore “Project-75” underway at Mazagon Docks in collaboration with France. The Scorpene project, of course, has faced huge time and cost overruns after the contract with French shipbuilder DCNS (the Naval Group) was inked way back in October 2005.

INS Kalvari, for instance, was to be ready by 2012, with the other five coming by 2017. Now, the second one INS Khanderi will be commissioned by mid-2018, with the third INS Karanj following by early-2019. All the six will be inducted by 2020-2021now.

“It’s better late than never. INS Kalvari is the most potent platform to have been constructed in India, capable as it is of undertaking offensive operations spanning the entire spectrum of maritime warfare,” said an officer.

The submarine, which has a speed of 20 knots, is equipped with sea-skimming SM-39 Exocet missiles and heavy-weight wire-guided surface and underwater target torpedoes. “The submarine has superior stealth and the ability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision-guided weapons,” said another officer.

Even as it pops the bubbly for INS Kalvari, the Navy is also keen to kick-start the longdelayed “Project-75-India” for construction of six new stealth submarines, with both land-attack missile capabilities and air-independent propulsion for greater underwater endurance. “We are hopeful of beginning the project by end-2018,” said Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba.

Four global ship-builders — Naval Group-DCNS (France), ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (Germany), Rosoboronexport Rubin Design Bureau (Russia) and Saab Kockums (Sweden)— have responded to the initial RFI (request for information) issued by the Navy for this project estimated to be over Rs 60,000 crore.

India needs at least 18 diesel-electric and six nuclear attack submarines to guard against the two-front threat scenario from China and Pakistan as well as achieve credible nuclear deterrence.

INS Karanj (diesel-electric Scorpene)

January 2018: Formal launch

Ajeet Mahale, Third Scorpene class submarine joins Naval fleet, January 31, 2018: The Hindu

See graphic:

INS Karanj (diesel-electric Scorpene), some facts

The Navy’s third state-of-the-art Scorpene class submarine, INS Karanj, was launched by Reena Lanba, wife of Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba. The new submarine is named after the earlier Kalvari class INS Karanj, which was decommissioned in 2003.

Six Scorpene class submarines are being built under Project 75 by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDSL), Mumbai, under a $3.75 billion technology transfer signed in October 2005 with the Naval Group of France. However, the programme has been delayed by four years due to construction delays. On Tuesday, the Prime Minister’s Office conveyed its annoyance to the Defence Ministry for not taking stringent action against the Naval Group and MDSL for the delay.

Admiral Lanba said, “MDSL and the Naval Group have put their houses in order and we have seen seen quick launches of the first three boats. I am quite confident that they have learnt from the experience of building and commissioning the first boat. I do not foresee any more delays in the programme.”

The Scorpene class is the Navy’s first modern conventional submarine series in almost two decades, since INS Sindhushastra was procured from Russia in July 2000.

“INS Karanj saw action in the 1971 War and I am sure that this new incarnation will live up to its legendary namesake,” the Navy chief said, adding that he expected the new Karanj to be commissioned by the end of the year.

Wednesday’s launch follows the launch of the first two Scorpene submarines — INS Kalavari and INS Khanderi.

INS Kalvari, the first to be launched, was commissioned in December 2017 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. INS Khanderi, which was launched in January 2017, is currently undergoing deep dive trails and is expected to be commissioned later this year, according to Navy officials .

‘Speedy delivery’

Admiral Lanba said he expects timely construction and speedy delivery of the remaining three submarines — Vela, Vagir and Vagsheer. “The three submarines are in various stages of outfitting. The entire project is expected to be completed by 2020,” a defence official said.

INS Kalvari, manned by a team of eight officers and 35 sailors, carries sea-skimming SM39 Exocet missiles and the heavyweight wire-guided Surface and Underwater Target (SUT) torpedoes. For self-defence, it has mobile anti-torpedo decoys.

INS Sindhuratna

The Times of India

Jan 31 2015

Sindhuratna captain to face court martial

Rajat Pandit

Major warship accidents:January 2011 onwards

The captain of INS Sindhuratna will now face a general court martial (GCM) for the mishap on board his Kilo-class submarine, which killed two officers, injured several sailors and proved to be the final trigger for Admiral D K Joshi to resign as Navy chief in February, 2014.

While Commander Sandeep Sinha will undergo disciplinary action in the GCM, six other officers have been awarded “severe displeasure“ -a black-mark in their records preventing any promotion, foreign posting, course and the like for them for two years.

The Commodore Commanding Submarines of Western Naval Command, S R Kapoor, and two of his officers are among the six to face the administrative action.They were on board INS Sindhuratna for “Task-II trials“ to clear the 26-year-old submarine for operational deployment -after a refit for Rs 200 crore at Mumbai naval dockyard -when disaster struck on February 26. The probe showed a cable fire over the battery pit in the submarine's third compartment led to the thick toxic smoke on board the vessel, as was first reported by TOI.

Around 40 officers are in the dock -most of them facing GCMs -for the string of warship mishaps in just the last couple of years. Defence minister Manohar Parrikar also wants accountability to be firmly fixed for submarine INS Sindhurakshak's sinking at the Mumbai dockyard after internal explosions in August 2013, which killed three officers and 15 sailors. But the Navy is yet to finalize the inquiry report into this mishap.

The INS Sindhuratna case bring outs how several factors are increasingly coming together to create a crisis in the blue-water force, tasked with guarding India's huge strategic interests in the region stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Malacca Strait. Politico-bureaucratic apathy in clearing new projects and emergency purchases, for instance, is making the Navy flog ageing warships well beyond their operational lives. Submarines, for instance, have a design life of only 25 years.

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