Being the dominant naval force of the Indian Ocean, the Indian Navy is in various processes of modernizing its fleet. One such development came recently in the form of a new submarine.
On Monday, the Indian Navy formally commissioned their third Scorpene class submarine, adding another tooth to the Navy’s underwater bite force.
Hailed as the most advanced derivative of original Scorpene submarines built by France, the Indian Navy adopted a heavy customized variant and built them in the domestic shipyard Mazgoan Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai with the French shipmaker Naval Group as part of Tender Project 75.
During the official vessel transfer, MDL chairman and managing director retired Vice Admiral Narayan Prasad and Rear Admiral B Sivakumar, Western Naval Command’s chief of staff officer, signed the acceptance document, handing the submarine to the Indian western naval fleet.
Named INS Karanj, she is the third submarine of the Scorpene class’ subclass vessels called Kalvari. INS Karanj will serve the western command of the Indian Navy. She was launched in January 2018 and entered into extensive sea trials.
The Indian Navy signed the $3.8 billion deal in 2005 with a French marine defense giant naval group (formally known as DCNS) under project 75. According to the deal, Naval group will transfer the technology of Scorpene submarine and assist in building them in an Indian shipyard with various major Indian specific customizations of the existing design, elevating the lethality and modern combat capability of vessels at advanced levels.
The first ship construction began in 2006, but due to various shortcomings on funds and negotiations, the project became stuck five years behind schedule.
The lead vessel of class INS Kalvari was commissioned in force around 2017, following the second boat in class INS Khanderi, which was inducted in 2019, marking INS Karanj as the third vessel in line to be commissioned successfully.
The fourth ship INS Vela was launched in May 2019 and is undergoing sea trials. It will be ready for induction next year. The fifth boat INS Vagir was launched last year in November 2020 and is also undergoing sea trials. The sixth submarine INS Vagsheer is at the stage of outfitting and will likely be launched by the end of the year.
The Indian Navy has the option to build an extra three vessels, according to the agreement. Further, the upcoming Project 75i will see the participation of lead submarine makers around the world competing for six submarine deals similar to the previous deal of Project 75, which was won by France.