Indian state-owned shipbuilder, Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) has delivered the first Scorpene-class attack submarine, INS Kalvari (S50) to the Indian Navy on Thursday.
The commissioning of the vessel is expected shortly and will be the country’s first new conventional submarine in over 17 years.
Kalvari (tiger shark) is the first of the six French diesel-electric submarines being built under the Rs 23,652 crore “Project-75” at Mazagon Docks in Mumbai.
The vessel has completed its exhaustive sea trials and weapon trials earlier this year. During its trials, Kalvari had test fired German SeaHake torpedo and French Exocet SM39 anti-ship missile.
However, the INS Kalvari is still without its primary weapon system against enemy subs and surface warships, given the cancellation of a contract for Black Shark heavyweight torpedos, built by Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei (WASS), a subsidiary of Italian arms manufacturer Finmeccanica. The deal was called off due to corruption allegations.
The second one of the class, INS Khanderi is slated for delivery by December. And the third, INS Karanj, will be launched later this year.
The Indian Navy currently has just 13 ageing diesel-electric attack submarines, with just half of them operational at any given time. India also has two nuclear-powered submarines, INS Arihant and INS Chakra, but the latter does not have nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles because it has been acquired on lease from Russia.
The Navy needs at least 18 conventional submarines (SSK), six nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN) and four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN).
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy operates more than 60 submarines including 5 SSBN.
The Indian Navy has recently issued a request-for-information to six foreign manufacturers for a new $8 billion contract to build six conventional submarines with air-independent propulsion (AIP) technology. AIP increases underwater endurance of the vessel.
About INS Kalvari:
INS Kalvari (S50) is the first of the six Kalvari-class (Scorpene-class) diesel-electric hunter-killer submarines designed for the Indian Navy to destroy enemy submarines and warships.
The submarines of the class are designed by French shipbuilder NAVAL Group (earlier DCNS) and being manufactured at Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai.
They have a displacement of 1,550 tons and a maximum submerged speed of 37 km/h. The vessel can dive to 350 meters and have a surfaced range of 12,000 km.
They are armed with heavyweight torpedoes (Varunastra), SM39 Exocet submarine-launched anti-ship missiles and naval mines. They have a speed of 37 km/h submerged; can dive to 350 meters and have a surfaced range of 12,000 km. The Exocet SM39 is a sea-skimming, subsonic, solid-fueled anti-ship missile with an approximate operational range of 50-70 kilometres depending on the variant.