India’s fourth Scorpene-class submarine Vela gets delivered

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Vaibhav Agrawal
Vaibhav Agrawal
Vaibhav Agrawal is a Defence and Aerospace Journalist with his articles/works on various digital and print media platforms. He is an Anchor/Host and Correspondent associated with several News Media Organizations. He is responsible for Digital Media and Defense reporting at Frontier India. *Views are personal

As per official sources, after more than two years of sea trials, the country’s fourth Scorpene-class submarine, Vela, was delivered to the Indian Navy on Tuesday. In terms of strength and capability, the delivery of the attack submarine is seen as a major shot in the arm for the Indian Navy and has undergone sea trials since May 2019.

When it comes to engaging with the enemies, The Attack submarine is known to have been equipped with advanced stealth and combat capabilities.

India’s Submarine Journey

Mazagon dock shipbuilders Limited have constructed this diesel-electric submarine which was built under project 75 in Mumbai.

Apart from the above, in October 2015, the first submarine, INS Kalvari, was launched while it was commissioned five years behind schedule in December 2017. In January 2017 the second one, INS khanderi, was launched while it was commissioned in September 2019 and in January 2018 that third submarine known to be as INS Karanj was launched and got commissioned on 10th March 2021.

On the other hand, in May 2019 the fourth in the series, to be named, INS Vela was launched.

Expected to go for a maiden surface sortie in December 2021, INS Vagir, the fifth one, was launched in November 2020 and has also commenced with its harbour trials. While, INS Vagsheer, the sixth submarine is currently in the advanced stage of outfitting.

According to the PR manager at MDL, India’s membership in the Exclusive group of submarine building Nations has been reaffirmed by the delivery of these four submarines namely Kalvari, Karanj, Khanderi and now Vela.

All about Scorpene-class submarines

Multifarious missions such as anti-submarine Warfare, area surveillance, mine laying, intelligence gathering and anti-surface Warfare can be undertaken by such Scorpene-class submarines.

With means provided for ensuring interoperability along with other components of a Naval task force, the submarines are designed to operate in all theatres.

Improved stealth features such as low radiated noise levels, ability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision-guided weapons, advanced acoustic silencing techniques and hydrodynamically optimised shape have been ensured by the state of the art technology that has been used in the construction of the Scorpion-class submarines.

Both tube-launched anti-ship missiles, as well as torpedoes, can be used for carrying out attacks at the same time, underwater or on the surface.

Apparently, one nuclear ballistic submarine that has been classified as SSBN along with 15 conventional diesel-electric submarines which are classified as SSKs is in possession by India.  

Earlier reports

Earlier this year it was reported that the Indian Navy will operate a mixture of both nuclear and conventional submarines in order to deal with threats around the nation, said an Indian official.

Keeping the need to tackle threats both near coastal areas as well as open seas in view, the official told the news agency ANI that the Indian Navy would build a fleet that would include both nuclear as well as conventional submarines. 

It was also said that 24 new submarines are being planned to be operated by the Indian Navy of which six are of the Kalvari class while another six would be built under Project 75 India with its tender already been issued and in order to build six nuclear submarines, the proposal still stands pending with the Cabinet Committee on Security. 

With many of India’s submarines being refitted, most of the submarines are over 25 years old with India’s first submarine purchased in December 1967 from the USSR which is none other than INS Kalvari of the Foxtrot Class. India came in possession of around four such submarines by 1969 while these submarines were baptised into battle during the 1971 war with Pakistan. However, four more Foxtrot Class submarines were purchased by India between 1971-74.

Ongoing status

Alongside the United States Russia the United kingdom’s France and China India stands among the six Nations that are equipped with SSNs. India had received its first SSN back in 1987 from the Soviet Navy which it rechristened as INS Chakra that was however decommissioned in 1991. That said, INS Chakra 2 which was another Russian SSN was received by India on a 10 year Lease in 2012 and has since been returned to Russia.

Six of the twelve submarines which are to be built indigenously after the P75 and P75I projects would be SSNs instead of SSK, as decided by the government. With the first expected to be delivered by 2025, India is taking two SSNs on lease from Russia.

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