India Today - - UPFRONT - By San­deep Un­nithan

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.

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