Navy Launches Diesel-Electric Submarine INS Karanj

INS Karanj at its launching ceremony at Mazagon Dock, Mumbai. Image Credit: Indian Navy via Twitter

The Indian Navy on Wednesday launched its third Kalvari-class diesel-electric submarine, INS Karanj in Mumbai.

The submarine will go through at least a year of sea trials and testing before it is commissioned.

On December 14 last year, the navy commissioned the INS Kalvari, making it the first (and so far, the only) submarine of its class to join service.

INS Kalvari during its maiden sea trial in 2016. Image Credit: Indian Navy

A third Kalvari-class submarine, INS Khanderi was launched last January and is presently undergoing trials. It’s likely to be commissioned later this year.

The Kalvari-class vessels are part of Project 75, a programme to locally build six Scorpene submarines designed by France’s Naval Group. The deal is worth about INR23,500 crore.

State-owned Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) was assigned the task of assembling the submarines (less than 40% of the vessels’ components are indigenous). INS Karanj is MDL’s third completed submarine. The remaining three are expected to be fully built by 2020.

As this blog noted in December, a key advantage of the Kalvari-class vessels is that their construction makes them relatively quiet in comparison to India’s first-generation nuclear submarines, which are generally believed to be noisy and hence, easier to detect.

DRDO’s Naval Materials Research Laboratory has ambitions to build an air independent propulsion (AIP) system for the Kalvari-class submarines that will allow them to stay submerged for longer periods of time. However, even if this plan comes to fruition, its is likely to take many years. That means the AIP systems will have to be retrofitted into the Kalvari-class vessels.

A more pressing need is the submarine’s armaments. Negotiations to buy Black Shark torpedoes from an Italian company were scrapped in 2016 over corruption allegations.

INS Kalvari is reportedly to be armed with old West German SUT wire-guided torpedoes and Exocet SM39 missiles. It’s not clear what armaments the newly-launched INS Karanj will bear.

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