Mazagon Dock Launches Indian Navy’s Fifth Scorpene-Class Submarine INS Vagir

Indian state-owned shipbuilder, Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) has launched the Indian Navy’s fifth Modified Scorpene/Kalvari class diesel-electric attack submarine, the future INS Vagir, during a ceremony at its shipyard in Mumbai on Nov. 12, 2020.

The vessel was ceremoniously launched by Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik through video conferencing. The ceremony was attended by Vice Admiral R B Pandit, the Chief of Staff of the Western Naval Command.

The submarine, Yard No. 11879, was towed to Mumbai Port Trust, for separation from the pontoon, after which she will undergo rigorous trials and tests, both in harbour and at sea before delivery to the Indian Navy.

Kalvari-class SSK

Kalvari class is a class of diesel-electric hunter-killer submarines (SSK) being built for the Indian Navy. The submarines of the class are based on Scorpène-class submarines designed by French shipbuilder NAVAL Group (earlier DCNS) and are being manufactured at Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai under transfer of technology (ToT).

The submarines have a length of 67.5 m, height of 12.3 m, overall beam of 6.2 m and a draught of 5.8 m. The class displaces 1,615 tonnes when surfaced and 1,775 tonnes when submerged.

Each ship is powered by four MTU 12V 396 SE84 diesel engines, has 360 battery cells for power and has a silent Permanently Magnetised Propulsion Motor. The vessels can reach a top speed of 20 knots (37 km/h) when submerged and 11 knots when surfaced.

The submarines have a range of 6,500 nmi (12,000 km) at 8 kn (15 km/h) when surfaced and are capable of diving to 350 meters. Each submarine has a complement of 8 officers and 35 sailors.

The boats can be 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 class and submarines take their names from the first submarines inducted in the Indian Navy – first three after Kalvari-class and the next three after Vela-class (both variants of Soviet Foxtrot-class submarines).

The first submarine of the class, is 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 second of the class, INS Khanderi, was commissioned into the fleet on Sept. 28, 2019.

The third submarine of the class, to be named INS Karanj, was launched in  Jan. 31, 2018 and the fourth, the future INS Vela, was launched on May 6, 2019. Both will be delivered to the Navy after the completion of the sea trials.

According to the shipbuilder, the one remaining vessel of the class – to be named INS Vagsheer – is in advanced stages of construction and will be delivered to the Navy in 2022.

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