Defence Industry

After MiG-29 jets, India mulling offer of refurbished submarines from Russia?

The Indian Navy is examining a proposal by a Russian shipbuilding company to supply three refurbished ‘Kilo’ class diesel-electric submarines, a defence website reported on Thursday.

Jane’s Defence Weekly reported Russia’s state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation made the offer in December last year. The company has also proposed to conduct refit work on three of the Indian Navy’s existing class of Kilo class submarines to extend their operational lives by 10 years, Jane’s Defence Weekly reported.

“The entire package—dubbed ‘three plus three’—has reportedly been priced at $1.8-2 billion,” Jane’s Defence Weekly reported. An agreement was expected to be formalised at a meeting of Russian and Indian officials in Goa in March, which was cancelled on account of the coronavirus outbreak. The submarines on offer from Russia are reportedly ships that are about 30-years-old.

The Kilo class submarines, which run on batteries under water, are numerically the most important class of underwater vessels in the Indian Navy. India purchased a total of 10 Kilo class submarines, which are called the Sindhughosh class, with the majority delivered before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The first ship, INS Sindhughosh, was commissioned in 1986. The ‘youngest’ Kilo class submarine in the Indian Navy was inducted in 2000.

Over the past two decades, India and Russia have worked to upgrade the Kilo class fleet with new sonar systems, electronics and weapons, including the Klub cruise missile, which can hit ships and targets on land.

The ongoing upgrade will extend the operational life of these vessels to 35 years. Most of these submarines were upgraded at the Zvezdochka shipyard at Severodvinsk in Russia.

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