INS Kalvari is India’s first Scorpene-class submarine and will be commissioned into the Indian Navy by PM Narendra Modi today. Kalvari, packing a potent punch, is the first in the lot of six Scorpene-class submarines that are being manufactured by homegrown PSU Mazagaon Docks Limited (MDL) in collaboration with French defence major DCNS. Regarded as the “most potent platform” to have been made in India, INS Kalvari, a diesel electric submarine, is a definite boost to Indian Navy’s surveillance and attack capabilities at a time when ties with China and Pakistan continue to be under pressure. INS Kalvari, according to the Ministry of Defence, has the capability of undertaking offensive operations “spanning the entire spectrum of maritime warfare”.
At a time when Indian Navy is down to a dozen submarines, the importance of Kalvari’s commissioning cannot be understated. The Kalvari, having been manufactured in India under Project 75, also gives the defence industry the capability of building more advanced submarines in the future. According to Abhijit Singh, the Head of Maritime Policy Initiative at ORF, Kalvari will give the Indian Navy a much-needed tactical edge. “Scorpene-class subramines are definitely better than the Kilo-class ones that we have right now. The submarine has precision strike capabilities and is capable of operating in shallow waters as well. It is also a very silent submarine, giving it a big edge in the waters,” Singh tells FE Online. “Add to that the fact that these have been made in India, even if with collaboration with a foreign firm. This means that for future, India will be able to make world-class submarines without help,” he adds.
INS Kalvari is 67.5 metres long and has a height of 12.3 metres. The submarine “embodies cutting-edge technology and compares favourably with the best in the world”. “The hull form, the fin and the hydroplanes are specifically designed to produce minimum underwater resistance. The 360 battery cells (each weighing 750 kg) power the extremely silent permanently magnetised propulsion motor. The stealth is further enhanced through the mounting of equipment inside the pressure hull on shock absorbing cradles,” says the Ministry of Defence. The submarine is equipped with advanced weapons and sensors that are integrated into the submarine tactical integrated combat system. The sonar suite is low-frequency analysis and ranging capable, hence enabling long-range detection and classification. The submarine can engage the enemy by utilising either the sea skimming SM 39 EXOCET missiles or the heavyweight wire guided surface and underwater target torpedoes. The submarine is fitted with mobile C303/S anti-torpedo decoys. Watch this video
PM Modi flagging off India’s first scorpene class submarine INS Kalvari in Mumbai, Maharashtra pic.twitter.com/lrGrmIgRGf
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“The submarine’s attack and search periscopes are equipped with infrared/low light level cameras and laser range finders. Kalvari has two 1250 kW MAN diesel engines for rapidly charging batteries. The submarine boasts of a highly advanced combat management system and a sophisticated integrated platform management system,” adds the Ministry of Defence. The submarine’s crest depicts a Kalvari, which is a tiger shark in Malayalam. The submarine’s motto is “Ever Onward”.
INS Kalvari has undergone extensive sea-trials over the past year-and-a-half and has successfully test-fired anti-ship missiles and torpedos. These precision-strike weapons give Kalvari and as a result the Indian Navy, a tactical advantage and leg-up in the Indian Ocean region. All six ‘Make in India’ Scorpene-class submarines will be equipped with torpedos and anti-ship missiles that have a proven track record in combat. According to the Indian Navy, the missiles will provide INS Kalvari with the “ability to neutralise surface threats at extended ranges”.