The second conventional submarine, INS Khanderi, built at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd will start sea trials off the Mumbai coast this week, while the first one has completed all trials and is set for commissioning into the Indian Naval fleet.
INS Kalveri, the first new conventional submarine, built at state-run Mazagon Docks, will be commissioned in July-August – the first after a gap of 17 years – Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said on Wednesday.
INS Kalvari (tiger shark), the first of the six French diesel-electric Scorpene submarines being built under the Rs23,652 crore `Project-75′ at Mazagon Docks in Mumbai, has undergone extensive sea trials.
The second one, INS Khanderi, in turn is slated to begin its long sea trials from Thursday.
The Indian Navy has a current fleet of 13 ageing conventional submarines, with just half of them operational at any given time. India also has two nuclear-powered submarines, INS Arihant and INS Chakra, but the latter does not have nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles because it has been acquired on lease from Russia.
China, which has over 55 submarines, with at least eight of them being nuclear ones, often frequent the IOR. Indian Navy has tracked at least seven Chinese submarines – both nuclear and conventional – entering the regionn since December 2013.
Although the Scorpene project faced huge time and cost overruns, the induction of new submarines comes as a big booster for the Navy, which is pitted against Pakistan in the West and China in the East.
INS Kalvari was to be ready by 2012, with the other five coming by 2017. Now, with the third submarine INS Vela to be “launched” later this year, all the six will be inducted by 2020 or so.