Indian Navy outlines timeline for induction of Scorpene submarines
Leaving behind the data leak episode, the Indian Navy has finally drawn up a timeline for induction of the six French-designed Scorpene submarines and the first two vessels are expected to be commissioned by end of the year.
Top Navy sources said the Kalvari, the first of the highly-advanced submarines, is set for induction by middle of this year as the complex process of integrating it with missiles and weapons system was nearing completion.
The submarines are being built at the Mazagon Dock Ltd in Mumbai with technology from French defence major DCNS under a project called P-75 at a cost of around $ 3.5 billion.
As per the plan, the second submarine Khanderi will be inducted into the Navy fleet by end of 2017 and thereafter each vessel will be commissioned at an interval of nine months.
The submarines are expected to significantly boost India’s naval prowess when China was fast expanding its maritime presence in the Indian Ocean.
In August, over 22,000 pages of top secret data on the capabilities of the submarines were leaked with an Australian newspaper putting the details on its website, triggering apprehensions that the leak may compromise the stealth capabilities of the vessels.
Navy sources, then, had said the document was dated and the Indian submarine had undergone “many changes” from the initial design, the details of which have been leaked.
The Project 75 has been hit by delays as the multi-billion dollar project was signed by the defence ministry with French firm DCNS in October 2005.
The first four submarines will be conventional while the last two are to be equipped with the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system, which will enable the vessel to stay underwater for longer duration.
All the six diesel-electric attack submarines will be equipped with the anti-ship missile, which has a proven record in combat, besides other weapon systems.
The navy on Thursday had successfully test-fired an anti-ship missile from the Kalvari.
Construction of the first submarine had started on May 23, 2009 and the project is running four years behind schedule.