India Conducts First Operational Deployment of INS Kalvari Amid Tensions with Pakistan

India has reportedly conducted the first operational deployment INS Kalvari, its first Scorpene-class diesel-electric attack submarine, amid tensions with Pakistan.

INS Kalvari was commissioned into the Indian Navy fleet during a ceremony in Mumbai on Dec. 14, 2017 after a delay of almost four years.

The Pakistan Navy has claimed that its has detected an Indian Navy attack submarine off the coast of Pakistan on March 4. The statement from the Pakistan Navy said that it blocked the Indian submarine from entering into Pakistani waters adding that the detected submarine is one of the latest submarines of Indian Navy. The submarine is reportedly INS Kalvari.

The tensions between India and Pakistan has increased following the militant attack in Kashmir on an Indian paramilitary convoy leading to death of 40 soldiers. The attack was claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based jihadist terrorist group active in Kashmir.

India accused the attack as state-sponsored and conducted an air strike against an alleged militant camp in Balakot in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, by using its Mirage 2000 jets. The attacked area was not in the disputed region between Pakistan and India. Pakistan retaliated with attack on Indian soil and the ensuing aerial combat lead to the downing of an Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG-21 fighter jet and the capturing of its pilot who was later released. India has claimed downing of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) F-16 combat aircraft.

Pakistan and Indian has conducted limited deployments following the development and the two accused each other for violating ceasefire across the Line of Control (LoC) which demarcates the Indian and Pakistan administered areas in Kashmir. Indian preparations also included limited movement by ground troops to further secure the International Border in the Jammu sector.

Kalvari-class submarines:

The second submarine of the Scorpene-class, known locally as Project 75 Kalvari-class, will be reportedly delivered to the Indian Navy in a month. She was launched at the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) shipyard in Mumbai on Jan. 12, 2017 and started her sea trials on June 1 the same year.

The third submarine of the class, to be named INS Karanj, was launched in January last year and is currently conducting sea trials. She is scheduled to be be delivered to the Navy later this year. According to the shipbuilder, MDL, the remaining vessels of the class – to be named INS Vela, INS Vagir and INS Vagsheer – will be delivered in 2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively.

Kalvari-class diesel-electric hunter-killer submarines (SSK) 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 indigenously-developed Varunastra heavyweight torpedoes, French MBDA SM39 Exocet submarine-launched anti-ship missiles (AShM) and naval mines. 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.

Project-75I class submarines:

The Indian Navy has also issued a request-for-information to six foreign manufacturers for a new contract to build six diesel-electric attack submarines equipped with Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) technology under the Project-75I programme. The construction of the submarines was approved by the Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) on Jan. 31, at a cost of over Rs. 40,000 crores (USD5.62 billion).

The Project 75I-class submarines will have a vertical launch system (VLS) to enable them to carry multiple BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, making the submarines fully capable of anti-surface and anti-ship warfare (ASuW) missions.

The possible contenders for the project are Rubin Amur 1650 (Russia), Naval Group Advanced Scorpene class (France), TKMS Type 214 class (Germany), Navantia S-80 (Spain), Saab Kockum A26 (Sweden) and Soryu class (Japan).

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