Indige­nously built sub­marines

In­dia will soon be self-re­liant in man­u­fac­tur­ing these spe­cial marine war­fare ma­chines.

Alive - - Contents - by G.V. Joshi

The INS Kal­vari, (mean­ing deep sea tiger shark) the first of the six Scor­pene class indige­nously built sub­marines, be­ing fab­ri­cated in In­dia at Maz­gaon Docks Ship­builders Ltd (MDL) in col­lab­o­ra­tion with DCNS of France, would be com­mis­sioned in July or Au­gust this year.

As of to­day, she is go­ing through the fi­nal tri­als. DCNS is a French in­dus­trial group spe­cialised in build­ing ships and sub­marines. DCNS has been in ex­is­tence for the last 400 years.

A Sub­ma­rine is a ves­sel that can be sub­merged and nav­i­gated un­der wa­ter. It is usu­ally built for war­fare and armed with tor­pe­does or guided mis­siles.

Maz­gaon Docks Ship­builders Ltd (MDL) is the lead­ing de­fence ship­yard in the coun­try and has played a key role in the mar­itime af­fairs of In­dia for over two cen­turies.

The ship­yards of MDL were es­tab­lished in the 18th cen­tury. Own­er­ship of the yards passed through the Penin­su­lar and Ori­en­tal Steam Nav­i­ga­tion Com­pany and the Bri­tish-In­dia Steam Nav­i­ga­tion Com­pany.

Even­tu­ally, ‘Maz­gaon Dock Lim­ited’ was reg­is­tered as a pub­lic com­pany in 1934. The ship­yard was na­tion­alised in 1960 and is now a Pub­lic Sec­tor Un­der­tak­ing un­der de­fence min­istry of the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia.

Since its ac­qui­si­tion by the gov­ern­ment in 1960 with a strate­gic na­tional ob­jec­tive of indige­nous ship­build­ing, MDL has built and de­liv­ered a large num­ber of front­line war­ships, sub­marines and the like. The first indige­nously built front­line war­ship INS Nil­giri was built by MDL and com­mis­sioned into the In­dian Navy in the year 1972.

A 30-year sub­ma­rine build­ing plan pro­posed by the In­dia Naval au­thor­i­ties was ap­proved by the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia in July 1999. It en­vis­aged the man­u­fac­ture of 24 sub­marines, all of them

in In­dia, the first twelve with trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy from for­eign col­lab­o­ra­tors and the

next twelve indige­nously.

The project en­vis­aged the build­ing of six French Scor­pene Class sub­marines in the time frame 2012-2017. The first com­pleted Scor­pene was sched­uled to be de­liv­ered by 2012 but due to in­or­di­nate de­lays and teething prob­lems, the date has been post­poned a num­ber of times.

Sub­marines in suc­ces­sion

The sec­ond Scor­pene class sub­ma­rine INS Kand­heri will be in­ducted nine months af­ter INS Kal­vari gets com­mis­sioned. The re­main­ing four sub­marines will then join ser­vice at a gap of nine months each.

As per tra­di­tion, ships and sub­marines of the Navy are brought alive again af­ter de­com­mis­sion­ing. The first INS Kal­vari was com­mis­sioned on 8 De­cem­ber 1967 and de­com­mis­sioned on 31 May 1996. It be­longed to an early Rus­sian Fox­trot-class sub­marines. Her sail is on dis­play at Vishakha­p­at­nam Naval base on the East coast of In­dia in Andhra Pradesh.

A sail of a sub­ma­rine is the tall, nar­row struc­ture, which rises from the mid­dle of a sub­ma­rine’s deck. The sail stands about 6 me­ters high. It holds the periscopes and the radar and ra­dio an­ten­nas. The top of the sail also serves as the bridge, from where the cap­tain di­rects the craft when on the sur­face.

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