Vela during sea trials. Indian Navy picture.
Indian shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) delivered “Vela”, the fourth Scorpene type submarine (Kalvari-class) to the Indian Navy.
The submarine is expected to be commissioned with the Indian Navy by year-end. Vela was launched by MDL on 6 May 2019.
Six Scorpene type submarines have been ordered by India in 2005 as part of the Project 75 program. They are constructed locally by the Mazagon Dock Limited shipyard in Mumbai, with assistance of Naval Group, designer of these submarines. Three submarines, Kalvari, Khanderi and Karanj have already been commissioned into the Indian Navy. The fifth submarine of the class, Vagir, is conducting sea trials, whilst construction of the sixth and final submarine, Vagsheer, is ongoing.
About India’s conventional submarine programs
An Indian Navy a Kalvari-class submarine sails alongside French Navy aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle during VARUNA 2021. Indian Navy picture.
According to official documents, the Indian Navy has two ongoing conventional submarine programs, with a third one on the way.
Phase I – P-75
Six submarines of Scorpene class (P-75) are to be constructed at Mazagon Dock Limited, Mumbai. Two Submarines of the project namely INS Kalvari and Khanderi have been commissioned in December 2017 and September 2019 respectively. The balance submarines are likely to be inducted every nine months. The last submarine is likely to be delivered in June 2022.
Phase I – P-75(I)
Six submarines are to be constructed under P-75(I) under the Strategic Partnership model promulgated by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) on 31 May 2017. AoN for the case has been accorded by DAC on 27 February 2019. A multidisciplinary Empowered Project Committee (EPC) has been constituted by MoD on 15 February 2019 to steer the project from ‘EoI issuance’ to ‘Contract Conclusion’. The Request for Expression of Interest (REoI) for shortlisting of SPs and Foreign, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEMs) was issued on 20 June 2019 and 02 July 2019 respectively. The response of SPs have been received on 11 September 2019. The response of Foreign OEMs have been received on 24 September 2019. The Request for Proposal (RFP) for the case would be issued in mid-2020. The induction of the submarines would be between 2027-2032.
Twelve submarines of an indigenous design are envisaged to be constructed in India in this phase with the experience gained and technology absorbed from construction of submarines under Phase I.
About Scorpène type submarine
Khanderi, the second of six Scorpene class submarines being built in India by MDL, sailed out on 01 June 2017 from Mumbai harbour for her maiden sea trial. Indian Navy picture.
Scorpène is the conventional submarine designed by Naval Group for the export market. It demonstrates both Naval Group’s ability to deliver best in class submarines and to conduct successful transfers of technology. Today 14 Scorpène submarines are in operational service or being built, for the Chilean Navy (2 units), the Malaysian Navy (2 units), the Indian Navy (6 units) and the Brazilian Navy (4 units).
The Scorpène design is adapted to fit each navy’s specific requirements. Thus, the Brazilian Scorpène is slightly longer to carry a larger crew, almost double the patrol range, and be able to cover greater distances.
Scorpène is ideally suited for action and operational effectiveness. Robust and enduring, it’s an ocean-going submarine also designed for shallow waters operations. Multipurpose, it fulfils the entire scope of missions such as anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, special operations, offensive minelaying and intelligence gathering. Integrating improvements from French Barracuda-Class fast-attack submarine, Scorpène has cutting-edge capabilities.
P75 Kalvari-class by the numbers
One of the tasks of Naval Group India Private Limited is to source, train and qualify local industrial companies involved in production and maintenance of P75 ships. ©Naval Group
+10 m with the future AIP Plug
-Up to 52 days
Surface : 1615 tons
Submerged: 1775 tons
-Up to 44 men
-High level of automation allowing the crew to be limited to 25, not counting
-Ability to carry and operate commandos
-6 x 533mm tubes
-Up to 18 heavyweight weapons.
-SM-39 Exocet antiship missile (MBDA)
-SUT 266 Legacy heavyweight torpedo (Atlas Elektronik)