AGEING SUBS GET COSTLY MAKEOVER
Having waited for the better part of two years, four of the Indian Navy’s submarines will soon undergo Rs 5,000 crore refits that should extend their lives for another decade. The four are among the nine Soviet-origin Kilo class submarines that form the backbone of the Navy’s 13-boat fleet.
Part of the refit includes equipping the submarines with land attack cruise missiles. Two of the boats will be refitted in Russia, while Larsen & Toubro, in partnership with Russian shipbuilders Zvezdochka, will work on two others.
INS Sindhuraj was sent to Russia last year and INS
Sindhukesari will be sent in June for refits costing $208 million each. Next month, the defence ministry will offload two Kilo class submarines to L&T’s Katupalli shipyard in Tamil Nadu. Both Sindhuraj and
Sindhukesari had refits in Russia in 1999 for $55 million each, after having completed 15 years of service.
The bulk of the fleet is past its 25-year lifespan, but the navy has been slow to acquire new conventional submarines, despite having lost one in an explosion in 2014 that killed 18 of the crew. With the refits, these subs will eventually serve for more than 35 years.