2nd Scor­pene ready for in­duc­tion

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation - NEWS NET­WORK

TIMES

New Delhi: In­dia’s de­pleted un­der­wa­ter com­bat arm will fi­nally get a much-needed boost when INS Khan­deri, the sec­ond of the six French-ori­gin Scor­pene diesel-elec­tric sub­marines un­der con­struc­tion at Mazagon Docks, is com­mis­sioned later this month.

The long-de­layed 1,565tonne sub­ma­rine will fol­low INS Kal­vari, the first Scor­pene sub­ma­rine that was com­mis­sioned in De­cem­ber 2017. De­fence min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh will be the chief guest at the func­tion in Mum­bai on Septem­ber 28.

The day will also wit­ness the “launch” of the first of the seven stealth frigates slated for con­struc­tion un­der Project-17A as well as in­au­gu­ra­tion of an air­craft car­rier dry dock at the naval dock­yard in Mum­bai.

The Scor­pene sub­ma­rine pro­gramme called Project-75 is run­ning over five years be­hind sched­ule, with the over­all cost now also es­ca­lat­ing to over Rs 25,700 crore. The re­main­ing four sub­marines will be com­mis­sioned at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals by 2022-2023, say of­fi­cials.

The Navy cur­rently has just 13 old con­ven­tional sub­marines, only half of them op­er­a­tional at any given time, apart from INS Kal­vari and two nu­clear-pow­ered sub­marines in INS Chakra and INS Ari­hant.

The com­mis­sion­ing of INS Khan­deri has been de­layed by over a year since the Navy in­sisted it would in­duct the ves­sel only af­ter all the glitches and prob­lems that came to the fore dur­ing the tri­als were fully rec­ti­fied by MDL and its French tech­nol­ogy part­ner- the Naval Group.

The sub­ma­rine, which has a speed of 20 knots, is equipped with sea-skim­ming SM-39 Ex­o­cet mis­siles and tor­pe­does to un­der­take stealthy of­fen­sive op­er­a­tions against en­emy war­ships.

In­dia needs at least 18 diesel-elec­tric and six nu­cle­ar­pow­ered at­tack sub­marines (SSNs) as well as four SSBNs (nu­clear sub­marines armed with long-range bal­lis­tic mis­siles) to guard against the two-front threat sce­nario from China and Pak­istan as well as achieve cred­i­ble nu­clear de­ter­rence.

It was only in June this year that the de­fence min­istry fi­nally be­gan the process to shortlist po­ten­tial In­dian ship­yards for the long-pend­ing project to con­struct six new-gen­er­a­tion con­ven­tional stealth sub­marines with for­eign col­lab­o­ra­tion un­der the “strate­gic part­ner­ship (SP)” model as part of the over­all “Make in In­dia” pol­icy.

Full re­port on www.toi.in

The com­mis­sion­ing of INS Khan­deri has been de­layed by over a year

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