MUMBAI: Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre will launch Khanderi, the second of the Kalvari Class submarines, at the Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) here on Thursday, an official said here..
The launch would see the separation of the submarine from the pontoon on which it is being assembled and to its final setting afloat, as the country enters the golden jubilee year of Indian Navy’s submarine arm this year.
The first submarine of the Kalvari Class – built by MDL in collaboration with France’s DCNS as part of Project 75 – is currently completing its sea trials and is due to be commissioned into the Indian Navy soon.
The state-of-the-art feature of the Scorpene include superior stealth and ability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision guided weapons.
The attacks can be carried out with torpedoes, tube-launched anti-ship missiles both while underwater or on surface in all theatres including the tropics, giving it invulnerability unmatched by many other submarines.
It can undertake multifarious missions like anti-surface and anti-submarine warfares, intelligence gathering, mine-laying, area surveillance, etc, that are typically undertaken by any modern submarine.
The Khanderi has been built on the “modular construction” technique, which divided it into several sections and outfitting them concurrently, a complex task involving laying kms of cabling and piping in extremely congested compartments.
All the equipment have been installed in the submarine with 95 percent cabling and piping completed while processes like pressure testing, setting-to-work and commissioner of various systems are currently underway and continue after it is launched.
The most important safety milestone of “vacuum testing” was completed in the very first attempt on a single day, January 5 (last Thursday), matching the record of Kalvari which also completed it in one shot – a feat unmatched in submarine construction history.
Till December, the submarine will undergo rigorous tests and trials in harbor and at sea, on surface and underwater, testing each system to its fullest capacity, before she would be commissioned into the Indian Navy as “INS Khanderi”.
Prior to that, the Kalvari is scheduled to be commissioned and the remaining four Scorpene submarines shall follow suit every nine months.
Incidentally, as per Indian Navy traditions, ships and submarines are brought “live” again after decommissioning.
Accordingly, the first ship “Khanderi” was commissioned on December 6, 1968 and decommissioned in October 1989, before being “reincarnated” by MDL as a powerful predator of the deep waters, guarding the vast maritime interests and territories of India.
The launch of Khanderi also marks a generational shift in technology for submarine construction in India and operations by the Indian Navy.
MDL has witnessed a huge modernization of the submarine construction facilities, a world-class Composite Naval Submarine Crew Training facility, a 2000-ton hydraulic press, a 100-bar High Press Test facility, a new Kanhoji Angre Wet Basin, a new Module Shop with a retractable roof, a towering 300-ton Goliath crane to assemble warships, and others would enhance the MDL’s ability to build quality submarines on time.
The MDL’s jewel in the crown is the new submarine assembly shop spread over 10,000 sqm which can enable it take up concurrent construction of two submarine production lines, adding upto 12 submarines under various stages of construction at any point of time.
As per Indian Navy traditions, Khanderi has been christened after her illustrious predecessor, an erstwhile ‘Foxtrot’ Class submarine which was decommissioned in 1989, after two decades of service to the country.
Khanderi’s launch signals a critical milstone for MDL which has earlier delivered two Shishumar Class submarines in the 1990s, strengthening its position as a submarine building yard.
Having humble beginnings as a small dry dock facility for the East India Company, in the 18th century, after over two centuries, MDL has established itself as a forefront Defence Public Sector Undertaking, taking up constructions of ships, warships, stealth frigates and submarines.