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Indian Navy inducts new submarine

INS Khanderi (2017), the second of the Kalvari-class submarine (2015). (Kishore Editing/Wikimedia Commons)
November 12, 2021

The Indian Navy has accepted the fourth advanced conventional diesel-electric submarine in Scorpene-class, dubbed the INS Vela. The Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd. (MDL) on Tuesday delivered the fourth Scorpene Submarine under Project P-75 to the Indian Navy, which will be commissioned by end of this month, officials said.

The accepted papers were signed by retired Vice-Admiral Narayan Prasad, who is serving as Chairman and Managing Director of MDL, along with Rear Admiral K.P. Arvindan, in the presence of top officials of the Indian Navy and MDL Shipyard.

India had signed the six submarine deal with the French warship maker Naval Group to domestically build Indian customized variants of Scorpene-class attack submarines at over $5 billion. With the delivery of INS Vela, the MDL has lived up to its reputation as one of the country’s most significant military shipbuilders and strengthened India’s inclusion in the exclusive club of submarine building nations around the globe.

INS Vela was launched on May 19, 2006, and since then the boat has completed all major harbor and sea trials, including weapon and sensor trials, despite hurdles from COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Three of these submarines are already in commission with the Indian Navy.

The fifth submarine in the series, INS Vagir, was launched on November 12, 2020, and has initiated her harbor trials. The submarine is likely to take her maiden surface sortie and sea trials on December 21, while the sixth and last ship in the class is in the engineering phase of the advanced outfitting process.

MDL started the first submarine’s construction as part of a German HDW Type 209 contract for the Indian Navy known as Shishumar class. These two SSK submarines built by MDL were rolled out in 1992 and 1994, which are still in service today. MDL later went on to build various sizable warships, including the latest Visakhapatnam class Destroyer and her predecessors of Kolkata class. The warships serve as testimony to MDL’s quality of construction, and the company is carrying out a Medium Refit and Life Certification of INS Shishumar, the first SSK submarine. The Indian Navy is also in preparation to have another six submarines under the new tender of Project-75i, for which RFI has been sent to various shipyards globally, including the French Naval Group.