After waving the tricolor on the Mars Orbiter Mission mission, it was yet another proud moment for India as the first Frech-designed, indigeniously built, Scorpene submarine was launched into the waters at the Mumbai docks. This is the first of the six submarines, each subsequent one being delivered in nine months. These are French-designed diesel-electric submarines. During the time that the deal was initially orchestrated and the time when the first submarine was launched, there was a delay of over 4 years than the initially estimated timelines and the cost over-shot by Rs 5000 crores.
India’s position with neighbours
India currently has 14 submarines, which are conventional diesel-electric, 10 Russian Kilo class and 4 German HDW class. But at any given time, only half of them are available due to refits. Adding to that, China’s increasing presence underwater, was creating worries to New Delhi. With the new submarines being rolled out, it will add to the Navy’s arsenal. Although the new submarine would be undergoing trials and would finally be commissioned in September 2016. Meanwhile, the indigenously built nuclear submarine INS Arihant would be joining the fleet in late 2016. India had earlier leased a nuclear propelled submarine from Russia in 2012. The Government is trying hard to replace the 30 year old nuclear fleet to bring it at par with the best in the world.
Tech Specs of Scorpene Submarines
One cannot deny the fact that these submarines are loaded with state of the art weapon systems, and control and monitoring systems.
- Weapon Systems: The Scorpene attack submarine can carry 18 torpedoes and missiles or 30 mines. It is equipped with six bow-located 21in torpedo tubes providing salvo launch capability. Positive discharge launching is by an air turbine pump. The submarine’s weapons include anti-ship and anti-submarine torpedoes and anti-surface missiles. The handling and loading of weapons is automated.
- Combat Management System: The combat management system is composed of command and techtical data handling system, a weapon control system and an integrated suite of acoustic sensors with an interface to a set of air surface detection sensors and to the integrated navigation system. The system can also download data from external sources.
- Sonar Suite: The vessel’s sonar suite includes a long-range passive cylindrical array, an intercept sonar, active sonar, distributed array, flank array, a high-resolution sonar for mine and obstacle avoidance and a towed array.
- Control and Monitoring: All submarine handling operations are carried out from the control room. The vessel features a high level of automation and surveillance, with automatic control mode of rudders and propulsion, continuous monitoring of the propulsion systems and platform installations, centralised and continuous surveillance of all potential hazards (leaks, fires, presence of gases) and the status of the installations that affect the safety while submerged.
India also plans to incorporate the DRDO-developed air independent propulsion (AIP) system onto the last two submarines being built.
With the inclusion of these submarines, this fleet would be much more formidable force than it is today.