India inches towards naval dominance

In Operation

India has finally taken the plunge to go ahead with its Rs 45,000 crore procurement plan for submarines. The Indian Navy wants the six submarines to be ‘Made in India’, as it will help a domestic shipyard to develop its skills for any future production. India will be needing all its naval assets in order to keep check on growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

9 Sindhughosh (Kilo) class of Russian origin

4 Shishumar (HDW 209) class of German origin

2 Kalvari (Scorpene) class of French origin

1 Arihant class nuclear-armed: Indigenous

1 Chakra class nuclear-powered from Russia

Conventional vs Nuclear

India has traditionally relied on conventional ones for defence and attack. These diesel-electric submarines are quiet and ideal for coastal warfare but have a fatal flaw — they need to surface regularly to collect oxygen for the crew and to burn fuel.

The nuclearpowered one like ‘Chakra’ can remain underwater for weeks as they generate their own oxygen.

Middle path

India is looking for submarines that can stay underwater for weeks and can be stealthy too. This is possible with the new air-independent propulsion (AIP) technology that can generate oxygen from on-board fuel.

India needs 6 such submarines, categorised as Project 75I (I is for India).

AIP ADVANTAGE: Technology on offer from Russia, France and Germany.

The nextgen submarines will be able to travel undetected virtually across the Arabian Sea and deep into the Indian Ocean. This will give them the ability to surprise enemy ships far from shore, enforce trade blockade at vital ports and strike both land and sea targets.

Make in India

The Navy, which has been at the forefront of promoting indigenous equipment, has mandated that the six submarines, to be acquired at an estimated cost of Rs 45,000 crore, be made in India by a domestic shipyard. This would ensure that all future submarines after P 75I are designed, built in India.

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