Project 75 / Scorpene - Schedule
The Indian experiment of building subs indigenously at Mazagon Dock, which delivered INS Shalki and INS Shankul in the early 1990s, went awry when the program was shelved following allegations of corruption. This cost the nation dear by way of loss of capability and skill sets acquired. More or less the same fate awaited the program kick-started in mid-2000 — as part of the Navy’s high-value 30-year submarine building program — to build six French-origin Scorpene class submarines at Mazagon Dock.
DCNS, the French firm that developed the Scorpene, assured the Indian Navy in early 2008 that issues surrounding technology transfer had been taken care of and the first of the six Scorpene submarines would roll out by 2012. The remaining five were scheduled to follow at a rate of one per year. But by May 2008 the Rs 18,798-crore Scorpene submarine project had run into rough weather due to delay in technology transfer. The navy may not be able to induct the first submarine by the 2012 deadline, with the French yet to part with crucial details of technological know-how, including design and drawing documentation. A senior navy official confirmed to HT that the project had been delayed by a year due to "teething problems".
Complexity of the construction can be judged from the fact that the first submarine of the series will be delivered in year 2012 and the rest in the following five years one annually. By late 2007 there had been slippages in the gigantic Rs 18,798 crore project to construct six Scorpene submarines at MDL, slated for delivery between 2012 and 2017.
On 26 March 2009 French naval defence system contractor DCNS said there had been initial "teething trouble" in the transfer of technology for the Indian Navy's Scorpene submarine project but they had been resolved. Three of the six Scorpene submarines are being built at the Mazagaon Dock Limited (MDL) as part of the Indian Navy's P75 project. By one estimate the project is worth Rs 13,000 crore and all the submarines would be delivered by 2017 end, Patrick Boissier, Chairman and CEO of DCNS Group said.
Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) is manufacturing SSK Scorpene submarines (P75) under transfer of technology (ToT) from DCNS. Simultaneously, DCNS India, DCNS Group’s subsidiary based in Mumbai, is working at the selection and qualification of Indian companies as partners for local production of the Scorpenes’ equipments. As of 2012 DCNS said that the first Scorpene submarine was to be launched at the end of 2013 and commissioned in 2015. The last Scorpene was expected to be commissioned in 2018. The Department of Defence Production maintained that the first submarine is likely to be commissioned in 2015 and the sixth submarine by 2018. But DCNS also said they were to be delivered at a rate of one per year, and if the first were launched in 2013 and commissioned in 2015, the sixth would be launched in 2019 and commissioned in 2021.
By mid-2012 DCNS was looking for tie-ups with Indian companies for production of equipment for Scorpene submarines, six of which were to be delivered to the Indian Navy between the end of 2013 and 2018. But by 2013 the first submarine, which was to join the fleet in 2012, was to be inducted only in 2017.
What has been chosen is the transfer of know-how of industrial capacity and technology to India to put it in a position to do it progressively. That is far more complex. The end result, however, will be two-fold: India with six first-class submarines, among the most modern in the world, and India being capable of continuing to build them by itself in the future.
By late 2014 the construction of the six Scorpene submarines at the Mazagon Dock Ltd. (MDL), had picked up speed and the navy hoped to get the first one in 2016 and the last by 2020. The Indian Navy chief, Admiral Robyn Dhowan stated "I expect the first Scorpene submarine to be delivered by Sep 2016, and the entire fleet by 2020."
India launched its first Scorpéne-class submarine in April 2015, bringing the country one step closer to creating a stealthy fleet. Named Kalvari, the stealth submarine successfully undocked at the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai on 06 April 2015. The vessel will soon undergo sea trials to test its weapons and firing capabilities, and is slated to enter the naval service by 2016. Speaking to Defense News, MDL officials said, "Between now and September 2016, the submarine will undergo a year and a half of rigorous trials and tests, both in harbor and at sea, while on surface and while dived."
The vessel is the first of the Indian Navy’s ambitious Project 75 submarine program, which aims to include five more Scorpénes in the Navy fleet by 2020. The submarine program is a collaborative project between the Indian Navy and the French firm DCNS, which was awarded the $4.6 billion contract in 2005.
Kalvari is the dreaded Tiger Shark, a deadly deep sea predator. As is the tradition, ships and submarines of the Navy, are brought alive after decommissioning. The first Kalvari, which was also the first Indian submarine, was commissioned into the Indian Navy on December 8, 1967. She was decommissioned on May 31, 1996 after almost 30 years of yeoman service to the nation. In true nautical traditions, she will now be re-incarnated, by Mazagon Dock, once again a powerful predator of the deep.
Kalvari, the first of Project-75 Scorpene submarines, sailed out of Mumbai harbor on 03 May 2016 for sea trials and is scheduled to be commissioned into the Navy in September. However, the procurement of heavy weight torpedoes from Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquel of Italy, a subsidiary of defence major Finmeccanica has been stuck due to the VVIP chopper scam and ongoing ban on the company and its subsidiaries. The Navy last inducted a conventional diesel-electric submarine, INS Sindhushastra, procured from Russia in July 2000.
The Honourable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi commissioned INS Kalvari (S-21), the first of the six Scorpene class submarines built under Project 75 (Kalvari Class) into the Indian Navy at an impressive ceremony held at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai on 14 December 2017. The event marked the formal induction into the Navy of the first of the six submarines being constructed at Mazagon Docks Ltd., in collaboration with the French builder M/s Naval Group.
Khanderi, the second of Indian Navy’s Scorpene’ class stealth submarine, was ‘launched’ on 12 January 2017 by the Hon’ble Raksha Rajya Mantri, Dr Subhash Bhamre paving the way for her sea trials. Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff and a host of other dignitaries witnessed the launch at Mazagon Dock Shipyard Limited. The submarine was expected to be delivered to Navy by the year end. She has been christened after her illustrious predecessor, an erstwhile ‘Foxtrot’ class submarine decommissioned in 1989, which is as per the traditions of Indian Navy.
Jane's reported 17 June 2019 that the Indian Navy had postponed the commissioning of the second of six Kalvari Scorpene Class diesel-electric attack submarines (SSKs) after they discovered apparent manufacturing defects. The Navy therefore asked the government-owned Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL), which was building the boats in collaboration with France's Naval Group, to fix the deficiencies found in the submarine. Commissioning would be delayed for several months. The sub is called Khanderi and began sea trials in 2017. Khanderi was initially scheduled to enter service by the end of 2019.
The third Scorpene class submarine constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited for the Indian Navy, was launched on 31 January 2018 by Mrs Reena Lanba, President Navy Wives Welfare Association after the recitation of Sanskrit shlokas from the Atharva Veda and traditional ceremonies associated with the launch of naval platforms. She also named this submarine as ‘Karanj’ and wished her good fortune. The submarine was then towed to Mumbai Port Trust, for separation from the pontoon. Karanj would undergo rigorous trials and tests, both in harbor and at sea before it is commissioned into the Navy.
During his address, Admiral Sunil Lanba, CNS, said that the launch of Karanj marked a significant departure from the manning and training philosophy that was adopted for the first two submarines and added that from third submarine onwards the Navy would be fully self reliant in training and certification processes. He also mentioned that the old Karanj had served the nation for 34 years from 1969 to 2003 including participation in 1971 war.
Admiral Lanba said he expects timely construction and speedy delivery of the remaining three submarines — Vela, Vagir and Vagsheer. “The three submarines are in various stages of outfitting. The entire project is expected to be completed by 2020,” a defence official said.
Vela, the fourth Scorpene class submarine being constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited for the Indian Navy, was launched on 06 May 2019, by Mrs Veena Ajay Kumar, wife of Dr Ajay Kumar, IAS, Secretary Defence Production, who was the Chief Guest on the occasion. VAdm AK Saxena, CWP&A was also present during the launching ceremony. This event reaffirms the steps taken by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) in the ongoing ‘Make In India’ programme, which is being actively implemented by the Department of Defence Production (MoD). The submarine was towed to Mumbai Port Trust, for separation from the pontoon, after which she would undergo rigorous trials and tests, both in harbor and at sea before delivery to the Indian Navy.
In yet another boost for the Indian Navy, it’s fifth Scorpene class submarine ’Vagir’ was launched Nov 12, 2020 at Mumbai’s Mazagon Dock. According to an official statement, Union Minister of State for Defence, Shripad Naik launched the submarine through video conferencing. On the occasion, Vice Admiral R B Pandit, Western Naval Command Chief, said he expects Vagir will be commissioned in a year's time. He said, two Kalvari-class submarines are already operational in the Navy. Vagir is part of the six Kalvari-class submarines being built in India. The submarines, designed by French naval defence and energy company DCNS, are being built as part of Indian Navy’s Project-75. The Mazagaon Dock Limited (MDL) on 16 February 2021 delivered the third Scorpene-class submarine to the navy after two years of sea trials. The submarine was launched in January 2018 for sea trials and will be commissioned as INS Karanj, said a naval officer. MDL chairman and managing director Vice Admiral Narayan Prasad (retired) and Rear Admiral B Sivakumar, Western Naval Command’s chief of staff officer (technical), signed the acceptance document. INS Karanj is India’s third of the six Scorpeneclass submarines with superior stealth and combat capabilities. INS Vela was launched in May 2019 and was undergoing sea trials. INS Vagir was launched in November 2020 and is also undergoing sea trials. The sixth submarine INS Vagsheer was at the stage of outfitting.
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