YB WEB DESK. Dated: 7/19/2022 12:06:12 PM

New Delhi,July 18 Even as the Navy decommissioned INS Sindhudhvaj, a Kilo-class submarine acquired from Russia in 1987, on Saturday, India’s struggle with its three-decade-old plan to shore up under-water capabilities continues. India is currently left with 15 conventional dieselelectric submarines, seven of which are of the Russian Kilo class. Under the ambitious 30 year old plan that ends in 2030, India was to build 24 submarines — 18 conventional submarines and six nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs) — as an effective deterrent against China and Pakistan. The current strength, however, is nowhere near the envisaged plan. Dubbed the ‘Kilo’ class by NATO, India had acquired 8 of the submarines, designated 877 EKM, between 1986 and 1991. Two more were acquired between 1998 and 2000. The ‘Kilo’ class is the most common conventional submarine in the world, with nearly 60 of them in service with various navies. Of the 10 that India had, it had lost INS Sindhurakshak, a ‘Kilo’ class submarine, in a fire accident in 2013. Another submarine, INS Sindhuvir, was handed over to the Myanmar Navy in 2020 as part of a bilateral defence collaboration. Besides the seven Kilo class, India has four Type 209 submarines of German origin and four of the indigenously manufactured Scorpene class of French origin. Two more Scorpene submarines will be delivered to the Indian Navy by 2023 end. India also has INS Arihant, a nuclear-powered ballistic missile carrying submarine (SSBN). A second submarine of this class, named Arighat was set to be commissioned but there is no clarity on its status. As a stop-gap arrangement to maintain the minimum deterrence when it comes to submarines, India is carrying out a second medium refit of four Kilo class submarines. A medium refit is usually done once in a submarine’s 30-year life but the Indian Navy’s decision will add 10 more years to the life of the Kilo class – thereby, arresting the shortfall till new ones are commissioned. There are multiple plans that the navy is focusing on – Project 75 India, Project 76 and the secretive submarine project. India’s ambitious plans to build six new conventional submarines with Air Independent Propulsion System (AIP) under Project 75 India remains stuck. The P75I project, which is being pursued under “Strategic Partnership” – to be built in India through a collaboration between a foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and an Indian entity – remains in limbo because multiple foreign companies have chosen to stay away. The OEMs in contention were Russia’s Rosoboronexport Rubin Design Bureau, Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, France’s Naval Group, Spain’s Navantia, South Korea’s .


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