New Delhi: The Make-in-India programme received a big boost on Thursday as the first of the six Scorpene-class submarines, being built in India as part of technology transfer from France, was delivered to the Navy.
Named after the dreaded deep sea predator Tiger Shark, the INS Kalvari is the first indigenously built submarine in 22 years. A stealth boat, it will act as a force multiplier for the Navy by launching massive attacks through precision guided weapons. It has a range of 12,000 km, allowing for a wide area of operation.
Kalvari is first of the six Scorpene-class submarines being built under Project-75 by Mazagon Docks Ltd. with technology transfer from DCNS, a French naval shipbuilder. Sources said that now that Kalvari has been delivered, it is likely to be commissioned in October and will slip into the Arabian Sea soon after.
A diesel-attack submarine, the Kanvari will be the stealthiest in service. It can use torpedoes as well as tube launched anti-ship missiles above and below the surface. Constructed from special steel that allows it deeper dives under water, it can also be used for mine laying, surveillance, anti-sub warfare and intelligence gathering. It also has weapon launching tubes to allow for mid-sea reloading.
The addition of Kalvari will spruce up the ageing Navy fleet at a time when China is ramping up its presence in the Indian Ocean. It would take the total number of submarines in the Indian Navy to 14. However, defence analysts say that we are still behind the optimum number of 24-26.
The entire project has been marred by delays. All six submarines were to be handed over between 2012 and 2015, but the delivery schedule has been pushed back by five years. Some data leaks had also contributed to the delays.
Sources said that the second Scorpene submarine, INS Khanderi, will join the Navy fleet around March next year. Named after an island fort of Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaj, trials for it had begun in June this year. The other four submarines are likely to be delivered at nine-month intervals.