Navy commissions fourth Scorpene submarine INS Vela

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admin December 3, 2021
Updated 2021/12/03 at 3:17 PM

At a ceremony in Mumbai on Thursday, the fourth Scorpene class conventional submarine, INS Vela, was commissioned into the Navy in the presence of Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh.

The Navy claimed in a statement that “Vela has pushed the ‘Make in India’ mentality a step further with the fitting of indigenised battery cells, which power a very quiet, permanently magnetised propulsion motor.”

The submarine’s construction began on July 14, 2009, with the first steel cutting, and it was launched on May 6, 2019, under the name Vela.

The Navy currently has 16 conventional submarines and one nuclear submarine in service. It consists of eight Russian Kilo class submarines, four German HDW submarines, four French Scorpene submarines, and the INS Arihant, an indigenous nuclear ballistic missile submarine.

Vela is named after a type of Indian fish belonging to the stingray family, and the crest represents the fish travelling over the blue oceans. The submarine’s mascot is the Sub-ray, which is a hybrid of the submarine and the stingray, and represents the submarine’s transformation into stingray-like attributes, according to the Navy.

The new INS Vela continues the tradition of her namesake, the former Vela, which was commissioned as the lead boat of the Vela class submarines on August 31, 1973, and decommissioned on January 25, 2010.

Under a $3.75 billion agreement signed in October 2005, Mazgaon Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai is building six Scorpene submarines under Project-75 with technology transferred from the Naval Group of France.

The first submarine, INS Kalvari, was launched in December 2017, with the second, INS Khanderi, following in September 2019 and the third, INS Karanj, following in March 2021. Vagir, the fifth submarine, was launched in November 2020 and is now undergoing sea trials, while Vagsheer, the sixth submarine, is nearing completion of its outfitting.

To improve their longevity, the Navy has drawn up plans to install air-independent propulsion (AIP) modules on all Scorpene submarines when they undergo refits, starting with the INS Kulvari in 2023. The success of the indigenous AIP module produced by the Defence Research and Development Organisation on board a submarine is critical to this. The prototype for the land-based version has just completed successful testing.

In a related development, the Navy has published a Request for Proposals for the acquisition of six modern submarines as part of Project-75I.

The Navy has a 30-year submarine construction plan, and beyond the P-75I, it plans to develop and manufacture conventional submarines in-house. “We will design and build our own submarines from now on,” Navy Chief Adm. Singh recently stated.

Due to delays in submarine induction, the SSKs-209s (German HDWs) and EKMs (Russian Kilo’s) are undergoing the Medium Refit Life Certification procedure, which will provide them with an extra 10 to 15 years of service life.

 

Source: The Hindu

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