Asia Defense | Security | South Asia

Indian Navy Commissions Second Kalvari-class Submarine

The vessel will be followed up by four additional submarines under Project 75.

Ankit Panda
Indian Navy Commissions Second Kalvari-class Submarine
Credit: Indian Navy Photo

Last week, India’s union defense minister, Rajnath Singh, oversaw the commissioning of INS Khanderi, the Indian Navy’s second Scorpene-class attack submarine. The commissioning ceremony took place on September 28. The Indian class designation for the Scorpene is Kalvari.

“I feel proud to be standing here to commission INS Khanderi. It has been built in India under Project 75,” Singh said. INS Khanderi was launched in January 2017, after which it underwent a sea trial phase.

“This is a symbol of our special ties with France as this project is a collaboration with France. We are proud of our Navy. In 1971, the Navy played a huge role in defeating Pakistan. Pakistan should know our capabilities and we can use them if required,” Singh said.

“The commissioning of Khanderi marks an important step in the combat capabilities of the Indian Navy,” Indian Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh said at the ceremony. “It is a testimony to our abilities to construct on complex platforms. The platform in front of you today showcases the strides taken in indigenisation of production for the Indian Navy,” he continued.

The Khanderi’s commissioning is a fillip for the struggling Project-75 acquisition program in India, which has experienced extensive delays. The joint Indo-French project covers the construction of eventually six Scorpene-class submarines jointly between France’s Naval Group (formerly DCNS) and India’s Mazagon Dock Limited.

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The Kalvari-class vessels slated for the use by the Indian Navy have reportedly suffered from loud propeller noise, reducing the expected stealth of the vessels.

Beyond INS Khanderi, the third slated Scorpene-class submarine for the Indian Navy, INS Karanj, was launched in January 2018. INS Kalvari, the first of the Scorpenes, was commissioned in December 2017.

The vessels displace 1,565 tons and are conventionally powered. As my colleague Franz-Stefan Gady has reported, the vessels are powered by two 1250 kW MAN Diesel Engines, permitting for a range of 6,500 nautical miles (12,000 kilometers).

“While the class will not be equipped with an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system for the time being, there are plans to retrofit the boats with a domestically designed and built AIP in the coming years,” Gady wrote.

“The Kalvari-class will be armed with French-made Exocet SM39 anti-ship missile, a sea-skimming, subsonic, solid-fueled anti-ship missile with an estimated operational range of 50-70 kilometers, and heavy-weight torpedoes,” he added.

INS Khanderi and INS Kalvari will be used by the Indian Navy in a range of missions, including anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions, and anti-submarine warfare.