India Navy adds sting to underwater fighting capability, gets delivery of Khanderi

File Photo: Scorpene-class submarine of the Indian Navy.

Mumbai: Indian Navy today added a booster shot to its under-water warfare capabilities, by receiving delivery of the second Scorpene-class submarine ‘Khanderi’, which is to be commissioned by Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh on September 29 at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) here.

The ‘Acceptance Document’ was signed by MDL Chairman and Managing Director Commodore Rakesh Anand (Retired) and Western Naval Command Chief of Staff Officer (Tech) Rear Admiral B. Sivakumar, in the presence of MDL Directors and Navy personnel.

The submarine ‘Khanderi’ is named after the wide snouted Saw fish, a deadly sea predator of the Indian Ocean. The earlier INS Khanderi, whose name will be taken by the new submarine, was commissioned into the Indian Navy on December 6, 1968 and decommissioned on October 18, 1989 after more than 20 years of service. In true nautical tradition, Khanderi will now ‘reincarnate’ as the Scorpene class’ second submarine out of six that MDL is building for the Indian Navy.

“Building of the Scorpene was indeed a challenge for MDL, as the complexity of the simplest of tasks increased exponentially due to all work having to be done in the most congested of spaces. This complexity was further aggravated by the stringent tolerances required to be achieved. However, all of these challenges were accepted head-on and successfully overcome by MDL, without any compromise in quality whatsoever,” the shipbuilder claimed in a statement.

The technology utilised in the Scorpene has ensured superior features of the submarine. The Scorpene class of submarines, for which technology was obtained from the French Naval Group, can undertake multifarious tasks typically undertaken by any modern submarine, which include anti-surface as well as anti-­submarine warfare.

Photo: MDL Chairman and Managing Director Commodore Rakesh Anand (Retired) handing over the ‘Acceptance Document’ of ‘Khanderi’ submarine to Western Naval Command Chief of Staff Officer (Tech) Rear Admiral B. Sivakumar (both at the centre) at MDL today.

With the delivery of Khanderi, India further cements its position as a submarine-building nation and MDL has lived up to its reputation as one of the India’s leading shipyards with a capacity to meet requirements of the Indian Navy, as claimed by the “Indian commercial and warship building and ship repairing industry report” released in Mumbai during March 2018 by CRISIL.

The constructions of third Scorpene at MDL, tentatively christened Karanj, was started on January 31, 2018 and is currently undergoing the rigorous phase of sea trials. The fourth Scorpene, Vela, was recently launched in May 2019 and is being prepared for sea trials, whilst the remaining two submarines, Vagir and Vagsheer, are in various stages of outfitting.

The two SSK submarines built by MDL in 1992 and 1994 are still serving Indian Navy, after more than 25 years. Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited also achieved expertise in submarine refits by successfully executing the medium refit-cum-upgradation of all the four SSK class submarines of the Indian Navy. lt is presently carrying out the medium refit and life certification of INS Shishumar, the first SSK submarine.

MDL is currently executing the P-15B Visakhapatnam-class destroyers and the P-17A class stealth frigates. The shipbuilder has completed an extensive mordernisation programme, at the end of which, it is building eight warships, six submarines in its yard, which has four drydocks, three slipways, two wet basins and more than 60,000 square metres of work shop area.

Leveraging the experience, the transfer-of-technology of the Scorpene project, and with its enhanced and upgraded infrastructure, MDL is ready for undertaking construction of future submarines projects and is eyeing the Project 75I that is likely to go for bids soon under the ‘Strategic Partnership‘ model.

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