India, in the presence of its State Minister for Defence — Subhash Bhamre — launched Khanderi, the second of the six Kalvari-class submarines, today in Mumbai. The milestone event had CNS Admiral Sunil Lanba, FOC-in-C West Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, senior naval officials and MoD staff in attendance.
Khanderi, which was named ‘Yard 11876’ throughout its construction phase in the yard was released off the pontoon on which it was being assembled. The submarine for the maiden time tasted its element – water – after the launch.
Subhash Bhamre congratulated MDL and DCNS teams. Speaking after launch he said “Khanderi construction & launch at MDL – a shining example of Make in India effort.”
CNS Sunil Lanba who witnessed the launch said “Launch of Khanderi a very proud occasion for us as a nation. Khanderi compares with the best in the world, speaks highly of the experience and expertise our shipbuilders have gained over the years.”
He added that as the Indian Navy celebrates the Golden Jubilee of the submarine arm in 2017, the induction of Project 75 submarines would mark the beginning of a new chapter in our submarine capabilities.”.
Unlike construction practises followed in building surface combatants, a major part of work on submarines is completed when they are dry docked and only after, they are launched to the water. Currently 95% work on Khanderi is completed and following completion of minor fitment assembling, the submarine shall be launched for elaborate harbour and sea trials in the coming months.
The highly-advanced submarine has been constructed locally by MDL in partnership with French maritime giant DCNS. Khanderi features a high-degree of indigenous technology and stands as a cornerstone achievement in India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Bernard Buisson, MD, DCNS India, in a statement to Life of Soldiers had said that “Kalvari-class submarines being built for India feature several indigenously built sub-systems. Indian based companies such as Flash Forge, SEC, HBL and Forbes Marshall have developed key components in the Float, Move and Fight categories for P75 submarines.”
He also revealed that DCNS has utilized its industrial cooperation in India to procure certain key components for construction of naval vessels for French Navy as well.
The submarine has been constructed under Indian Navy’s P-75 program with an outlay of over INR 23,000 crore. The Navy is all set to acquire six submarines of this class by 2021.
Khanderi is constructed based on the DCNS designed Scropene-class diesel-electric submarines which are capable of neutralizing surface, sub-surface and ground-based targets.
Scorpene submarines are one of the most advanced combatants in their class and are currently in service with Chilean and Malaysian navy. These submarines were built using a modular design technique and feature high amount of stealth technology effectively making them deadly silent hunter-killers. The submarines using their advanced technology can lurk undetected in hostile waters for days at a time.
Kalvari-class submarines are powered by two diesel engines which collectively churn out 1,250 kW of power allowing the submarine to attain speeds up to 37 KM when submerged. The diesel engines are complemented by two ‘Jeumont-Schneider EPM Magtronic’ electronic engines which are capable of producing 2,900 kW of power.
Equipped with this hybrid propulsion package the submarine can effectively operate with zero noise levels. Operating in ultra-quiet mode, Kalvari-class submarines can tail high value targets such as hostile SSBN’s, aircraft carriers and missile cruisers.
The submarine making use of its electronic and sensory suite can eavesdrop on enemy targets and collect electronic, thermal and acoustic signatures. These collected data will prove critical for detecting hostile platforms during wartime.
A retired senior naval captain who commanded several diesel-electric submarine of the India navy speaking about the launch said “Launch of Kalvari is boost to the navy’s morale. There exists an imperative need for submarines to counter hostile threats in the Indian Ocean and beyond. With the rapid expansion of India’s maritime interest, the launch and planned induction of Kalvari-class submarines gain all the more importance. It is a red-letter day for the submariners.”
Speaking about the diesel-electric submarines he said “Submarines powered by diesel and electric engines usually operate in territorial waters and can prove to be force multipliers in littoral and tropic waters. These submarines are stealthier and silent than nuclear powered submarines.”
The Indian Navy currently under its command has 13 diesel-electric submarines and 1 nuclear powered attack submarine which it leased for a period of 10 years from Russia. The navy has on several occasions aired the exigent needs for submarines to counter increasing hostile presence close to its territorial waters.
Scorpene submarines to neutralise surface and ground-based targets come fitted with the dreaded Exocet SM-39 AShM missiles. These compact missiles can neutralise targets as far as 49 kilometres away. The submarines will also carry heavy-weight torpedoes which can hunt down naval targets.
These submariners following their induction will be under the Western Naval Command (WNC) and shall be based in INS Kadamba, India’s biggest naval base. The addition of the Kalvari-class submarines will give a fillip to the navy’s capability and shall arm it with a platform to counter hostile threats in its territorial waters and beyond.