New Delhi: Indian Navy (IN) experiences what can be termed as a ‘mood swing’. However, this Sunday, there is reason to be upbeat. Its first French-designed conventional, diesel electric submarine in over 15 years, the Kalvari, is going to sea. Credible sources associated with the project (code named Project 75) have confirmed that Harbour Acceptance Trials (HATs) are ‘largely complete’ and she has been readied for ‘Sea Trials’, indicating the final stage of checks before she becomes a part of the fleet.
“The crew along with supervisory authorities will sail out for the first ever set of sea trials for Kalvari. This process will play out over a period of 5-6 months after which comes the commissioning” said a source. The test was to have taken place last weekend however was rescheduled at the last minute on account of ‘minor, logistical reasons’.
While HATs were about proving the boats structural integrity, working of the mechanical aspects including pumps and motors, the sea trials will mark a phase more complicated. From diving to navigating and carrying out maneuvers, the readiness of the platform for all sorts of eventualities will be tested. Once done, the boat will have to prove her capabilities in terms of her listening using sensors as well as carrying out firing of her missiles and torpedos.
The Kalvari was to have joined the navy in 2012. Her commissioning is now set for September this year. “This is the boat where the manufacturer has to prove each and every capability that has been promised to us. So there is little to hurry up for. Let us be satisfied with the demonstration of her capabilities,” explained an officer. While there is excitement, there is also nervousness about the crucial tests and parameters which have to be verified. Project 75 consists of six submarines however the first in class always faces the utmost scrutiny. “The other five will benefit from what improvements are carried out on Kalvari,” said an officer.
Even though Project 75 is a highly delayed one, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had worked out a timeline last year based on which the sea trials were to commence by early 2016. Based on this, the timeline worked out for commissioning was September 2016. “We are slightly late, I admit. On top of that, while we need 5-6 months to conclude the trials, we have just a month more before the monsoon sets in. Between June to mid-August the Arabian sea is especially rough and we may not take Kalvari out to sea as often as we would like to,” added a source. There is uncertainty.