Life on board submarines is a life amidst hi-tech war machines which have awesome firepower, state-of-the-art weapon control system, computer controlled machinery and a high standard of habitability.
Personnel for this elite arm are taken from various branches subject to their volunteering and clearing the aptitude test and medical standards. Being a submariner may be perceived as a glamorous job up on the earth’s surface. But it is not exactly so when they are sailing at alien locations hundreds of meters under the blue waters.
Life onboard a submarine begins with rigorous training sessions that are certainly not meant for the weak-hearted. On board submarines, men work with state-of-the art weapons, navigational systems, communication sets, diving equipment, etc. The art of submarine warfare involves having a good understanding of own capabilities
In a conventional submarine, there are about 44- 50 people on board, about 11 officers and 35- 40 men, though, the number varies as per class of the vessel. Conventional submarines, once underwater sail to a depth of about 300- 350 meters.
Submariners are given special T-shirts and pants, which need to be changed every third day. Very submariner follows three hours work, six hours rest pattern. As a result, one-third of the submarine is always on guard. Or, to put it, two third of the submarine is always sleeping. There is no entertainment. The maximum it can get is a CD player with few movies, veteran submariners claim to have watched zillion time. The temperature in the rest of the submarine is around 30-35 degrees and the crew works in sweltering heat. The quality of the air is monitored constantly for impurities.
Hours underwater are no lesser than war scenario. The first fight is with the water pressure. To be detected by an enemy warship is a nightmare; submariners live with all through their tenures. While conventional submarines, they say, only receive signals from the command centre and not revert in order to maintain stealth, there are tales of enemy warships warning and forcing submarines away from their territories by deploying arm twisting techniques.
Preparation of food is yet another challenge. “Space is a constraint inside the 300 ft long and 30 feet wide three story submarine, but still we have a galley spanning 4X6 sq mts equipped with minimum devices to cook decent food for the crew. Cooking begins everyday at about 3:45 am; there are two cooks on board.