Scorpene-class submarine INS Kalvari joins Navy

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on December 14, 2017

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the commissioning of Scorpene-class submarine INS Kalvari at the Naval Dockyard, in Mumbai on Thursday   -  PTI

It’s the lead ship of six boats that make up the Kalvari-class

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday morning dedicated Scorpene-class submarine INS Kalvari to the nation.

Her formal commissioning took place nearly a decade after her keel was laid down. INS Kalvari, meaning ‘Tiger Shark’, displaces 1,725 tonnes and is 202 feet long.

The ‘Made in India’ submarine has become the latest addition to the Navy’s undersea fleet. Its design is based on the French Scorpene class and is aided by technology transfer from the Naval Group of France.

Congratulating the government and all those involved in the induction of INS Kalvari into service, defence major MBDA, a European developer and manufacturer of missiles, said its missile has been chosen to add to the submarine’s capabilities. This could not be independently confirmed with the forces.

Loic Piedevache, Country Head - India, MBDA, said in a statement that the company’s “Exocet SM39 missile has been chosen to provide the Kalvari class of submarines with its advanced anti-ship capabilities.”

Exocet SM39 is the submarine-launched version of the Exocet family and features sea-skimming flight, solid propellant and a high-kill warhead, among its main features. The missile has a range of 50 km, which enables the submarine to go into action while remaining out of enemy detection and weapon range. It reportedly uses an inertial navigation system followed by autonomous terminal guidance from an active RF seeker.

Officials pointed out that submarines initially operate without crucial weapons.

“The first of the Scorpene submarines, which went to sea trials in May 2016, did not have any weapons, either missiles or torpedoes,” said an official.

The torpedoes were to be supplied by Italian-owned firm Finmeccanica, the Italian defence manufacturer that was blacklisted over bribery charges. However, officials added the only weapons on-board were the French-designed Exocet missiles.

“Before the blacklisting, MBDA France was to provide 40 SM39 Exocet anti-ship missiles, while Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei, a unit of Italy’s Finmeccanica, was to supply the Black Shark heavyweight wire-guided torpedoes. In addition to the supply of submarine components, the deal also included transfer of related technology to Mazagon Docks,” the official said.

The Scorpene’s high-performance, integrated combat system offers flexibility and reliability.

Scorpene submarines can launch a variety of 21-inch weapons, including wire-guided torpedoes and pop-up anti-ship missiles.

Officials said the state-of-the-art technology utilised in the submarine has ensured superior stealth features such as advanced acoustic silencing techniques, low-radiated noise levels and the ability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision-guided weapons.

Officials indicated the attack could be launched with both torpedoes and tube-launched anti-ship missiles, whilst underwater or on the surface. The stealth of the potent platform is enhanced by the special attention given to various signatures, officials said. These stealth features give it invulnerability, unmatched by most submarines.

INS Kalvari is the lead ship of six boats that make up the Kalvari-class for the Indian Navy. Laid down by shipbuilder Mazagon Dock of Mumbai on April 1, 2009, she was launched on April 6, 2015. Her hull was completed on October 30, 2015, and the boat was delivered to the Navy in September 2016.

For the Navy, it is a potent platform, marking a generational shift in submarine operations.

In the pipeline

The second of the Scorpenes under construction in Mumbai, Khanderi, was launched in January 2017, and is currently undergoing rigorous sea trials. The third Scorpene, Karanj, is being readied for launch shortly. The balance three of the six submarines are in various stages of outfitting. The project is expected to be completed by 2020.

Published on December 14, 2017
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