India Plan to order three additional Scorpene-class submarines with 14 changes

Source:-India Plan to order three additional Scorpene-class submarines with 14 changes

Indian Navy may consider the option for producing next line of three submarines from France. With 14 changes (including AIP and better propulsion) that the navy wants, the next lot of Scorpenes, if it materialises, would be a mix of new and old technologies.

Like the first six Scorpenes, the three new submarines would also be manufactured at the Mumbai site, and would be equipped with a new anaerobic propulsion system (AIP) developed by the DRDO.

In October 2005, India placed an order for six Scorpene submarines. The submarines are being built at the state-owned Mazagon dockyard in Bombay, with technical assistance and equipment from French companies DCN and Thales.At the same time, India also placed an order for 36 MBDA SM-39 Exocet anti-ship missiles to arm the submarines.

The Kalvari Class of Scoprene Submarines are stealthier than nuclear subs as they can work without needing to surface or send up a snorkel for oxygen thanks to the use of Air-independent propulsion system found on the Scorpene subs that can help it stay underwater for up to 21 days at a stretch.

However, INS Kalvari, first Submarine of the Kalvari Class, is not equipped with AIP. As of now, it is said, 6th Submarine of the class would have AIP. Initial plan was to have it into last two subs of Class, but The AIP system being developed by the Maharashtra-based Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL) has hit some delays. It is contemplated that AIP would be retro fitted in 5th Boat at a later stage.

The system acts as a battery that runs the sub when it is submerged which in turns keeps down the noise the sub creates underwater. The diesel engines usually work while the sub is on the surface.

This Scorpene submarine has superior stealth technology. It can also launch massive attacks through precision guided weapons. An attack can be launched through this submarine with torpedoes as well as tube launched anti-ship missiles on the surface of the water or beneath it as well. This submarine works in all settings including the tropics, wherein various means and communications are in place to ensure interoperability with various components of the naval task force

The Scorpene submarines are a class apart, diesel powered hunter killer submarines developed by DCNS of France. Displacing 1900 tonnes of water when submerged these submarines can sail almost at zero noise underwater thus avoiding any detection by enemy submarines. This enables the submarine to tail enemy high value targets like the ‘aircraft carriers’ or ‘SSBN’s’ and gain acoustical and thermal images which will prove vital in war times. Powered by two diesel engines the submarine can attain a maximum speed of 37 km/h when submerged and can cut through the waters at 22 km/h when surfaced. The diesel engines are complemented by two Jeumont-Schneider EPM Magtronic batteries which collectively churn out 2800 kW of power, allowing the submarine to operate ultra quite when tailing targets.

The submarine incorporates a high level of system redundancy to achieve an average 240 days at sea a year for each submarine. The maximum diving depth is 300m, giving the commander more tactical freedom than previously available on conventional submarines. There is no limit to the duration of dives at a maximum depth, other than the power systems and crew limitations.

The low acoustic signature and hydrodynamic shock resistance give the Scorpene class the capability to carry out anti-submarine and anti-surface ship warfare operations in closed or open sea conditions, as well as the capability of working with special forces in coastal waters.

The 30-year submarine plan, which had envisaged six each submarines of western and Russian origin, followed by 12 indigenous submarines (from design to production), is woefully behind schedule. Six French Scorpene submarines built at MDL under Project 75, which are now expected to be delivered by 2022

India has 13 diesel-electric submarines (nine Russian Kilo-class and four HDWs); one SSBN, INS Arihant commissioned in August 2016 (it has not done a single deterrent patrol), and the second SSBN, Arighat undergoing sea-trails; and one SSN, INS Chakra leased from Russia in 2012 for 10 years. Of the nine Kilo class submarines (all of Eighties vintage) not more than five are available operationally. Since India never bothered to set-up indigenous maintenance facilities for Kilo submarines in four decades, two of them are in Russia (with two more waiting) for medium refit and life extension certification for another 11 years. While Kilos are armed with excellent cruise missiles — 3M 14E land attack with 300km range and 3M 54E anti-ship with 220km range — the submarine technology is old.

The government meanwhile has taken two steps. One, it issued a Request for Information in 2017 for a new class of submarines. France and Russia are serious contenders in the programme to partner with Indian shipyard under Make in India to manufacture six submarines under Project 75I. The next programme, Project 76, which is supposed to make indigenous 12 state-of-art submarines, remains on the drawing board. And two, work on six indigenous SSNs under Make in India which was approved by the government in 2015, has reportedly begun.

Moscow is helping India with its SSBNs (Arihant design came from there), has leased its SSNs (talks for another INS Chakra are at an advanced state), and has offered to help with the six indigenous SSNs including propulsion. According to top sources, Russia has offered joint design, joint prototype building, and transfer of technical documentation for serial production to nominated Indian shipyard under Make in India (to include BrahMos and DRDO’s AIP installations) for both Project 75I and 76. If true, this should be considered as the out-of-box solution to make up submarines’ deficiencies.

 

 

 

 

Source:- Free Press Journal

 

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