6th Scorpène Submarine Vagsheer Launched Into Water In Mumbai
India’s naval fleet is set to receive more firepower as India’s indigenous manufacturing of conventional submarines has reached the final leg with the last of the six Scorpene class submarines INS Vagsheer being manufactured as part of Project 75 (P-75) constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited for the Indian Navy, was launched in Mumbai. It is the last of the Scorpene class submarines made under the P75 project and can join the Navy fleet within 12-18 months after sea trials. The submarine will undergo a very comprehensive and rigorous set of tests and trials to ensure delivery of a fully combat worthy submarine, capable of operation in all modes and regimes of deployment.
The six submarines were being built under Project-75 by the MDL under technology transfer from the Naval Group under a $3.75 bn deal signed in October 2005. The first one, INS Kalvari, was commissioned in December 2017; the second, INS Khanderi, in September 2019; the third, INS Karanj, in March 2021; and the fourth one, INS Vela, joined service last November. The 5th one, Vagir, was launched in November 2020 and is undergoing sea trials. The Navy has drawn up plans to install an Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) module on all the Scorpenes as they go for refit, beginning with INS Kalvari, in the next couple of years to enhance their endurance. Development of an indigenous AIP module by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is in advanced stages.
Named after the sandfish, a deadly deep water sea predator of the Indian Ocean, the first submarine 'Vagsheer' was commissioned in December 1974. It was decommissioned in April 1997. The submarines are being manufactured at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in collaboration with Naval Group, France. The Scorpene-class submarines are a class of diesel-electric attack submarines, featuring diesel propulsion and air-dependent propulsion. The submarine has four sub-types - CM-2000 conventional diesel-electric version, the AM-2000 air-independent propulsion derivative, the downsized CA-2000 coastal submarine and the enlarged S-BR for the Brazilian navy.
The Scorpene-class submarines have superior stealth features such as advanced acoustic absorption techniques, low radiated noise levels, a hydro-dynamically optimised shape, and the ability to launch attacks using precision-guided weapons, Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd said. Vagsheer is a diesel attack submarine, designed to perform sea denial as well as access denial warfare against the adversary. It can do offensive operations across the spectrum of naval warfare including anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, mine laying and area surveillance.
Parallelly, the tender to build six more advanced conventional submarines under Project-75I is in the Request For Proposal (RFP) stage. The Navy has a 30-year submarine-building programme and after the P-75I, it intends to design and build conventional submarines indigenously. With delays in submarine induction, the SSKs - 209s (German HDWs) and EKMs (Russian Kilos), are being put through the Medium Refit Life Certification (MRLC) process, which will give them additional life of 10 to 15 years. The Navy currently has 16 conventional submarines- eight Russian Kilos, four German HDWs and four Scorpenes, and indigenous nuclear ballistic missile submarine INS Arihant in service.