The Indian Navy now has its first new-generation Kalvari-class submarine.
Handed-over on 21 September, the INS Kalvari is expected to have been commissioned before the end of the month. It’ll then become the first of six Kalvari-class submarines to join the Asian naval power.
India moved to modernise its declining submarine fleet in the early 2000s. France’s Scorpène-class submarine, developed by maritime defence/energy firm DCNS, was the chosen design.
An order for six Scorpènes was placed in 2005. Under Project 75, Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) would build them under licence but integrate locally-developed power technology, giving the submarines a mix of French and Indian components.
Kalvari-class submarine construction began on 23 May 2009. Then came delays that held back the first submarine’s launch until 28 October 2015 and the start of sea trials until the following May.
The INS Kalvari will now lead the Kalvari-class submarines into Indian Navy service.
India inaugurated its first submarine, also called ‘INS Kalvari’, in 1967. 2017 therefore marks 50 years of Indian Navy submarine operations. The original Kalvari served on into the mid-1990s. ‘In true nautical tradition, she will now be reincarnated, by Mazagon Dock, once again a powerful predator of the deep, guarding the vast maritime interests of our nation’, Indian Navy officials explained.
INS Kalvari Features
Able to deploy to all theatres, the INS Kalvari is a multimission maritime platform designed for anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, area surveillance, mine-laying and intelligence-gathering.
66 metres long, it is made from a special high-tensile steel that can bear extremely high stress loads. That enables it to dive down to 300 metres below sea level, beyond the enemy’s reach. This deep-diving capability is just part of what make the INS Kalvari ‘stealthy’: other INS Kalvari stealth features, according to MDL, include ‘advanced acoustic silencing techniques, low-radiated noise levels, hydro-dynamically optimised shape and the ability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision-guided weapons.’
Armed with anti-ship missiles and/or 18 torpedoes, the submarine can strike targets from both above and below the waves.
The second Kalvari-class submarine, Khanderi, had its launch in January 2017 and is now being sea-trialled. Karanj, the third, is set to launch by the end of December. The entire six-submarine fleet should be active by 2020, Indian defence officials say. While this new-gen sextet will swell Indian naval capability, it’ll still be a long way off China’s 60-plus-strong assortment of diesel-electric and nuclear submarines.