KALVERI CLASS ATTACK SUBMARINE ORDER MAY BE REPEATED BY INDIAN NAVY: REPORT

World News

When Manohar Parrikar was India’s Defence Minister, he advised then-Navy Chief Admiral Robin K. Dhowan to consider adding three more Kalvari (Scorpene) class submarines to the fleet rather than acquiring six additional Project 75 I air independent propulsion-equipped submarines. Because Admiral Dhowan did not concur, the options clause for Project 75, which was approved by the Atal Behari Vajpayee government back in 2003, was cancelled in September 2016, according to a recent article in Hindustan Times.

The Ministry of Defence issued a request for proposals (RFP) on July 20, 2021, asking for bids to outfit six Project 75 I class submarines with AIP for 40,000 crore. The next set of 75 I class submarines will be built in the late 2030s with a new massive investment on submarine line, which means that the current Scorpene submarine line at MDL will go to seed. It is typical for Indian military-civilian bureaucracy to take at least 10-15 years to complete any big acquisition. Everything seems to be ready for a shift.

The leadership of the Indian Navy is reevaluating its submarine options and may ask the Modi government to repeat the order of Kalvari class submarines with DRDO proven and French Naval Group tested AIP system fitted into the next six submarines as the PLA Navy advances swiftly into the Indo-Pacific and the QUAD prepares to meet the challenge. The design, development, and building of three nuclear-powered, conventionally armed submarines, often known as SSNs or nuclear assault submarines, is part of the Indian Navy’s 25-year strategic plan.

With a third SSBN being fitted, India currently has two nuclear-powered ballistic missile-firing submarines.

After the last of the Kalvari class submarines is commissioned this year and MDL later exports the same submarines to other countries in Southeast Asia like Indonesia and in Africa, the repeat order of Kalvari class submarines will ensure that Indian submarine building and machine tooling skills do not perish. The solution is to quietly bury Project 75 I and expand on the current Project 75 with locally produced AIP by the DRDO. Submarines of the Kalvari class can later be upgraded mid-life to include the same AIP. India has no other choice than to take on the Indo-Pacific challenge in light of China’s annual launch of six to ten warships, including submarines.

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