Kalvari was the first of the Indian Navy’s Scorpene class stealth submarines being built under the Project 75
GN Bureau | December 15, 2017
When prime minister Narendra Modi dedicated Kalvari submarine to the nation, it was significant for more than one reason. Not only did the submarine enhance India’s capability as a blue water navy, it also highlighted Project 75 that focused on a major exercise to build six submarines.
Project 75 faced innumerable challenges and the first of the six submarines showed that the effort is still on track. These submarines would form the core of the navy’s submarine arm for the next two decades.
The Cabinet Committee on Security on July 12, 1999, accorded approval for a 30 year plan for series construction of submarines for Indian Navy in two phases, with second phase to be indigenous.
The delay in construction of Project 75 submarines is attributed to teething problems in absorption of new technologies, delay in augmentation of industrial infrastructure at Mazagaon Dockyard Ltd. (MDL) and delay in procurement of various MDL procured items, parliament was informed in December 2014.
“Government reviews the progress of Project 75 and other ongoing ship construction projects periodically. The reasons for delay in each case are individually assessed. Some major reasons of delay are infrastructure constraints at shipyards, difficulties in import of warship grade steel, delay in indigenous development of warship grade steel and absorption of new technologies etc. These reasons have attributed to different cost escalations in different projects,” then defence minister Manohar Parrikar said in a written reply to Dharmendra Yadav and ShrirangappaBarne in the Lok Sabha.
What exactly is Project 75?
Project 75 was for construction of six submarines based on a Western design and six submarines of a design sourced from Eastern origin (Russia included) under Project 75(I) were to be constructed with the participation of the Indian industry both, private and public, explained Indian Defence Review.
For the project, a contract with Thales/DCNS International was concluded to construct six submarines based on the Scorpene design at MDL in October 2005. The submarines are highly sophisticated and of contemporary design. The weapons envisaged on these platforms are state-of-the-art torpedoes and the Exocet anti-ship missile.
Things don’t look good for Project 75(I), with indiandefencereview.com saying that the project has been inordinately delayed.
As far as Project 75 are concerned, it seems to be on track.
On July 21, 2017, Subhash Bhamre, minister of state in the defence ministry, told the Lok Sabha that six submarines are under construction under Project 75 at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd, Mumbai.
“The first submarine is scheduled to be delivered in August, 2017. The second submarine was launched in January 2017 and is scheduled for delivery in December, 2017. The induction of the Kalvari class submarines will enhance the capabilities of the Indian Navy to meet envisaged threats and missions,” said Bhamre.
The submarine dedicated to the nation on Thursday was handed over for extensive sea trials. Only after extensive tests, is it being put to use.
PIB in April 2015 reported that Kalvari, first of the Indian Navy’s Scorpene class stealth submarines being built under the Project 75, under collaboration with M/s DCNS, France, had achieved a major milestone with her ‘undocking’ at the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL).
The project 75, which by then had already seen a delay of almost 40 months, was brought on track and the delivery schedule for the successive submarines was reduced. Parrikar had then asked the defence public sector yards viz. Mazagon Docks Limited and Goa shipyard to double their production in the coming three years.
The Scorpene submarines would pack a potent punch. She would be equipped with anti-ship missiles and long range guided torpedoes along with modern sensor suite.
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