Mumbai: Slowly but steadily, the Scorpene submarine programme is making progress. While the first submarine awaits commissioning, the second one has just begun sea trials, and Mazagaon Docks Ltd. (MDL) is gearing up to launch the third submarine.
“After the monsoon, the second Scorpene Khanderi began sea trials last week. As per schedule, it is expected to be commissioned within this year. The third submarine Karanj is on track to be launched by year-end,” an official told The Hindu. Khanderi, named after an island fort of Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji, was launched in January and had undergone some testing. Trials were held up due to rough sea.
The Navy formally took delivery of the first submarine Kalvari on September 21 and is awaiting its induction. The remaining three are in various stages of outfitting and expected to roll out tentatively in nine month intervals. Officials said they could be rolled out faster too.
The MDL is constructing six Scorpene conventional diesel-electric submarines under Project-75 with technology transfer from Naval Group, formerly DCNS of France, under a $3.75-billion deal signed in October 2005. However, the project has seen steep delays and all six submarines are expected to be inducted by 2020-21.
The Navy has recently issued the Request For Information (RFI) for procurement of a new line of submarines under Project 75I under the Strategic Partnership model estimated to cost over ₹50,000 crore.