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INS Kalvari, First Made-In-India Scorpene Class Submarine Joins Navy

 

 

New Delhi: INS Kalvari, India’s deadliest Scorpene class submarine, joined the Navy today. “It is the best example of Make-In-India,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi after commissioning the submarine in Mumbai. Six Scorpene-submarines are being built by Mazagon Dock Limited as a part of Project-75 of the Indian Navy. The remaining five boats of the Project 75 will be delivered by the yard to the Navy by 2020. India has just about 15 submarines, a mix of Russian-origin Kilo class vessels and German HDW submarines. China has four times as many.

Highlights

 

  1. The Navy is inducting six Scorpene class submarines in a 3 billion dollar contract. Construction for the first submarine, being commissioned today, began in December 2006.
  2. The Kalvari will be the most modern non-nuclear submarine in the Navy and is powered by an extremely silent diesel-electric motor making it very difficult to detect underwater.
  3. The submarine is armed with heavy weight torpedoes and Exocet anti-ship missiles. The submarine can launch torpedoes both while submerged or on the surface.
  4. The Kalvari has an overall length of 67.5 metres and a height of 12.3 metres.
  5. The heart of the Kalvari’s weapons system is SUBTICS or Submarine Tactical Integrated Combat System suite which processes information from the sonars onboard the submarine in detecting targets which can then be engaged with torpedoes or missiles.
  6. The submarine has an attack and search periscope equipped with Infrared/Low Light Level cameras and Laser Range finders to spot targets on the surface of the sea.
  7. The second Scorpene submarine, INS Khanderi, is currently undergoing trials and is likely to be inducted soon.
  8. Sensitive data on the operations of this class of submarine was leaked and reported by an Australian publication prompting a full-fledged investigation in France.
  9. ‘Kalvari’ means Tiger Shark in Malayalam to reflect its agility, strength and predatory prowess.
  10. The very first Indian Navy submarine also bore the name Kalvari and was commissioned in December 1967. The Indian Navy has been operating submarines (including nuclear attack and ballistic missile submarines) for 50 years.

”Kalvari is an excellent example of ‘Make in India’ and every defence vehicle, from helicopters to submarines, will be made in India,” says Prime Minister Modi after putting it into commission in Mumbai.

India’s first modern conventional submarine, INS Kalvari, was inducted into the Navy on Thursday, a first in almost two decades.

Putting it into commission in Mumbai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the efforts of the Navy for its role from disaster management to combating piracy. “Be it terrorism via sea, piracy, drug smuggling or illegal fishing, India is playing an important role in combating them,” he said

“I call it SAGAR — security and growth for all in the region,” he noted.

What is a Scorpene?

 

Here’s an explainer on Scorpene and the submarine deal with DCNS.

Scorpene is a conventional powered submarine weighing 1,500 tonnes and can go up to depths of 300m. It is built by DCNS of France.

What has it to do with India?

In October 2005, India had signed a USD 3.75 bn deal for six of submarines to be built by Mazgaon Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai with transfer of technology. Additional deals were signed with Thales and MBDA for systems and weapons.

What is the status of the deal?

After repeated delays over four years, the first submarine began sea trials in May this year and is expected to be commissioned into the Navy by October. The remaining five submarines are at various stages of construction and MDL has assured to hand over one submarine every nine months.

Why are submarines so important?

A submarine is the quietest military platform and extremely tough to detect. Their main cover is their ability to move stealthily under water and keep an eye on enemy movement of vessels.

Submarines are the most potent military platforms currently available even ahead of aircraft carriers which need a large entourage to protect it.

The fact that nations which possess nuclear weapons base their second strike capability (ability to strike back after being hit first by nuclear strike) on nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) underscores their importance.

What is stealth?

Every military platform has a footprint which shows up on radar by which is used by adversaries to track it. So it is extremely important to minimise the footprint to protect our military assets and retain the element of surprise in case of an offensive

For a submarine, stealth is the most important protection. Stealth is a relative concept. It can be increased relatively to varying levels by adopting several measures right from the platforms design to operational measures to reduce noise and vibrations to stay away from prowling radars and sonars.

How do submarines operate?

As Submarines operate under water they rely on sonar or sound waves for communication and detection. Each class of submarine operates over specific frequencies, their signature, and is highly guarded.

What is the leak all about?

The 22,400 pages of documents leaked are essentially the manufacturer’s, in this case DCNS, manual detailing the technical specifications of the submarine.

They detail the combat and stealth capabilities of the Scorpene, including what frequencies they gather intelligence at, what levels of noise they make at various speeds and their diving depths, range and endurance and so on. It also discloses magnetic, electromagnetic and infra-red data as well as specifications of the submarine’s torpedo launch system and the combat system.

So does it mean the submarines are compromised?

Not entirely but the fact that such information has been lacked is a concern in itself. Rival navies take years to collect such kind of information and this coming out in public domain is not a healthy sign.

While the manufacturer’s technical manual has come out in the public domain, the operational and tactical procedures are developed by the user, the Indian Navy, once the submarine is inducted. In addition as the submarines are still under construction small tweaking can be done to change their signatures, as a precautionary measure.

Source : NDTV and The Hindu

 

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