Indian Navy to Commission its Second Scorpene-Class Attack Submarine, INS Khanderi, Later This Month

Indian Navy is set to commission its second Scorpene/Kalvari-class diesel-electric attack submarine, the future INS Khanderi, on September 28, according to local reports.

The commissioning ceremony will be conducted in Mumbai and will be attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the reports added.

According to Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar, the Vice Chief of the Navy, INS Nilgiri, the first ship of the P-17A class of stealth frigates, would also be launched during the ceremony and an aircraft carrier drydock would be inaugurated by the minister.

The future INS Khanderi 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 submarine, named after Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji’s island fort Khanderi, is the second of overall six Scorpene-class boats (locally designated as Kalvari-class after the lead ship of the class) to be built by India’s state-owned shipbuilder, Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in cooperation with French defence shipbuilding major, Naval Group (formerly called DCNS).

The first submarine of the class, is INS Kalvari was commissioned into the Indian Navy fleet during a ceremony in Mumbai on Dec. 14 last year after a delay of almost four years. The third submarine of the class, to be named INS Karanj, was launched last year and is currently conducting sea trials. She is scheduled to be be delivered to the Navy later this year.

The fourth submarine of the class, INS Vela, was launched on May 6 this year and is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy next year. According to the shipbuilder, the remaining vessels of the class – to be named INS Vagir and INS Vagsheer – will be delivered in 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.

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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