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Posted at: Apr 7, 2015, 1:21 AM; last updated: Apr 7, 2015, 1:16 AM (IST)

Parrikar undocks Scorpene sub

Project 75

  • The Scorpene is part of the ambitious Project 75 of Indian Navy’s submarine programme, undertaken with French collaboration, which will include six such vessels joining the fleet over the next few years
  • Named INS Kalvari, the sub will be inducted into the Indian Navy in 2016 after undergoing trial runs
  • ‘Kalvari’ – a deep sea tiger shark – is a revival of name of first-ever submarine of the Navy which was commissioned in 1967 and de-commissioned in 1996

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 6

Under serious threat from China’s massive submarine fleet and almost 16 years after the ambitious submarine action plan was announced, India took its first “baby step” in increasing its conventionally powered undersea prowess.

In the period, India leased one nuclear powered submarine, the INS Chakra from Russia, while its indigenous nuclear powered submarine, the INS Arihant, is on sea trials, but is yet to join the fleet.

The first of the six India-France joint venture Scorpene submarines was undocked from its construction pontoon at the Mazagon Docks Limited in Mumbai.

Named “Kalvari” – a deep sea tiger shark – is a revival of name of first-ever submarine of the Navy which was commissioned in 1967 and de-commissioned in 1996. It’s a stealth submarine run on a mix of diesel-electric power, referred to as “conventionally powered” in security circles and is built under collaboration between the DCNS, France, and the MDL, a company owned by the Ministry of Defence.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral RK Dhowan were present on the occasion.

The vessel will now undergo final fitting and testing, including sea trials. It will be inducted into the Indian Navy in 2016. The remaining five boats would be delivered to the Navy by 2020 and would form the core of the Navy’s submarine arm for the next two decades. The submarines would be equipped with anti-ship missiles and long range guided torpedoes along with a modern sensor suite.

The existing submarine plan announced in 1999 had spoken of having 24 modern submarines by 2030. Half way through, this is firs -real conventionally powered vessel close to sailing. For Naval planners, the worrisome part is how China’s submarine fleet – of nuclear powered and conventionally powered — is four times the size of India’s. Indian battle-ready under-sea fleet of diesel electric vessels is now down to 14.

The US Department of Defence, in its annual report to the US Congress in September 2014, spells out the rise of China’s submarine fleet.

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