Indian Navy to commission newest submarine INS Kalvari next week

The Indian Navy is planning to commission its newest diesel-electric attack submarine, INS Kalvari during a ceremony in Mumbai next week after a delay of almost four years.

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 Kalvari’s commissioning will take place just six days after the 50th anniversary of the Navy’s submarine arm on December 8.

Another highlight of the Kalvari’s commissioning in Mumbai is that it will be done in the presence of 92-year-old Commander KS Subramanian. He was a commanding officer of the first Indian submarine, also called the INS Kalvari.

The INS Kalvari I was the first of eight Foxtrot class submarines of the Indian Navy commissioned at the erstwhile Soviet Union’s naval base Riga in Latvia on 8 December 1967. The day is now known as Submarine Day. The vessel was decommissioned in 1996 after 29 years of service.

The second ship of the Scorpene-class, INS Khanderi has begun its sea trials in June and is expected to be commissioned later this year.

The commissioning of INS Kalvari will mark a significant milestone in India’s efforts to rebuild its depleted submarine force as China and Pakistan are building up their underwater warfare capabilities.

The Indian Navy’s fleet of diesel-electric subs currently consists of 13 ageing boats in various states of operational readiness while China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy operates more than 60 submarines including 5 nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN).

The Indian Navy has recently issued a request-for-information to six foreign manufacturers for a new $8 billion contract to build six submarines with AIP technology.

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.


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