The Indian Navy is reportedly examining the possibility of purchasing three refurbished Kilo Class submarines, following a proposal by Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation offering the ships and the refurbishment and life extension of three more currently in Indian service.

The entire 'three plus three' package will reportedly cost $1.8-2 billion, and would represent a relatively low cost means to considerably enhance the Navy’s capabilities. Dubbed ‘Black Hole’ by NATO powers for their extreme silence, the Kilo Class ships have been widely exported from Africa to the Middle East, China and Southeast Asia, and are compatible with a range of modern munition types including new Kalibr and Zicron cruise missiles.

India is the second largest foreign operator of the Kilo Class, which it fields as the Sindhughosh Class, although they are all of the original ageing design rather than the newer ‘Advanced Kilo’ design fielded by Vietnam and China.

Enhancements to the design under the proposed refurbishment program should bring the ships up to a much higher standard and partly bridge the gap with newer variants of the design. A possible deal will come alongside the expected lease of a third Akula Class nuclear submarine - a much heavier and higher endurance platform capable of operating an an offensive means to complement the Kilo's primarily defensive role.