After a long delay of almost four years, the Indian Navy is scheduled to commission a new class of diesel-electric attack submarines lead boat INS Kalvari (Kalvari Class) in the month of August.
China and Pakistan are building up their underwater warfare capabilities and capacities at a remarkable rate. Chinese submarines especially have stepped up patrols in the Indian Ocean. In such scenario the introduction of the (Kalvari-class) diesel-electric attack submarine, INS Kalvari, will claim an important milestone in India’s efforts to rebuild its worn-out submarine force. Currently the Indian Navy’s fleet of diesel – electric submarines consists of 13 aging boats in many states of operational promptness.
Extended sea and weapon trials of the lead boat of the Indian Navy’s new attack submarine class which will be commissioned in the next few weeks includes the test firing of a German SeaHake torpedo and the launch of a French-made Exocet SM39 anti-ship missile this year. The Exocet SM39 is a sea-skimming, subsonic, solid-fueled anti-ship missile with an approximate operational range of 50-70 kilometers depending on the alternative.
Even if these testing happen, INS Kalvari is still without its primary weapon system against enemy subs and surface warships. Due to corruption allegations, there was a cancellation of a contract for Black Shark heavyweight torpedoes, built by Whitehead Alenia Systemi Subacquei (WASS), a subsidiary of Italian arms manufacturer Finmeccanica.
There are alternatives to the Black Shark torpedo which includes the German-made SeaHake heavyweight torpedo and France’s F21 Artemis. “The Black Shark torpedo was specifically purchased for the Indian Navy’s future fleet of six Scorpene-class (Kalvari-class) diesel-electric attack submarines,” I reported elsewhere. “A second batch of 49 Black Shark torpedoes was also to be installed aboard India’s domestically developed and built Arihant-class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines.” According to Defence news
The Kalvari class submarine weighs up to 1,550 tons which is equipped with 533-millimeter torpedo tubes for launching anti-ship torpedoes, anti-ship missiles, and sea mines. Kalvari at present is not integrated with (AIP) i.e. air-independent propulsion system according to some reports. None of the six Kalvari –class submarines will be commissioned with AIP for now, perhaps, some Navy Officials have claimed that AIP could be added at a later stage during retrofit.
A $4.16 billion contract was awarded to a French shipbuilder Direction des Constructions Navales Services (DCNS). The contract is known as Project 75-I, which is to build six diesel electric attack submarines for the Indian Navy in co-operation with MDL in 2005. Initially the Project 75-I contract also included the option of manufacturing six additional Scorpene-class submarines at MDL, however the Indian Navy has recently issued a request-for-information from six other foreign manufacturers for six submarines with AIP technology. It’s an 8 billion $ contract, The Diplomat reported last month. Shortlisted manufacturers also include DCNS, but the company is not likely to be selected because it encountered an embarrassing data leak. According to Defence News
INS Khanderi is a second Kalvari-class diesel-electric attack submarine, which was send out for trails at the sea last month. She is expected to be commissioned by the end of the year and four pending boats will be delivered at intervals of nine months by 2020.