Conventional diesel-electric Vela is undergoing advanced stages of sea trials

The 4th Scorpene conventional diesel-electric submarine Vela is expected to be commissioned into the Navy by year end while Vagsheer, 6th and last Scorpene submarine which is under construction, is expected to be launched into water by year end, according to a defence source.

Vela was launched into water in May 2019 and is undergoing advanced stages of sea trials while Vagsheer is in advanced stages of outfitting.

The Navy has inducted the 3rd Scorpene submarine INS Karanj into service last week. With this the Navy has 15 conventional and two nuclear submarines in service, which includes eight Russian Kilo class, four German HDW and three Scorpenes. The nuclear submarines include the nuclear attack INS Chakra on lease from Russia and the indigenous nuclear ballistic missile INS Arihant.

Last October, India handed over INS Sindhuvir, a Kilo class submarine to the Myanmar Navy, its first submarine.

Six Scorpene submarines are being built under Project-75 by the Mazgaon Dock Limited (MDL), Mumbai under technology transfer from the Naval Group of France under a $3.75-billion deal signed in October 2005. However, the programme has been delayed by four years due to construction issues.

The first submarine of the class INS Kalvari was commissioned in December 2017 and the second, INS Khanderi, joined the Navy in September 2019. The 5th, Vagir, was launched in November 2020 and is undergoing sea trails.

The Navy has drawn up plans to install Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) modules on all Scorpene submarines as they go for their refit beginning with INS Kulvari in 2023 to enhance their endurance. The Scorpene class is the Navy’s first modern conventional series in almost two decades since INS Sindhushastra which was procured from Russia in July 2000.

The Navy is at advanced stages of issuing the Request For Proposal (RFP) for procurement of six advanced submarines under Project-75I. The case is expected to be taken by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) soon.