Indian Navy’s fifth stealth Scorpene class Submarine INS Vagir was commissioned into the Indian Navy today, 23 Jan 2023 at the Naval Dockyard Mumbai in the presence of Adm R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Naval Staff, the Chief Guest for the ceremony.
INS Vagir is named after a “Sand Shark”. According to the Indian Navy: “the Sand Shark represents Stealth and Fearlessness, two qualities that are synonymous with the ethos of a submariner”.
“INS Vagir will give a significant fillip to the Indian Navy’s operational might and serve as a potent deterrent for any adversary […] Vagir is the third submarine inducted into the Navy in a short span of 24 months. This underscores the coming of age of India’s shipbuilding industry, and the maturing of our defence ecosystem. It is also a shining testimony to the expertise and experience of our shipyards to construct complex & complicated platforms and serves to reinforce Indian Navy’s unequivocal commitment and steadfast resolve to be a fully ‘AatmaNirbhar’ force by 2047”Adm R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Naval Staff
Six Scorpene type submarines have been ordered by India in 2005 as part of the Project 75 program. They are constructed locally by the Mazagon Dock Limited shipyard in Mumbai, with assistance of Naval Group, designer of these submarines. Four submarines, Kalvari, Khanderi, Karanj and Vela have already been commissioned into the Indian Navy. Outfitting of the sixth and final submarine, Vagsheer, is ongoing. It was launched by MDL in April 2022 and is set to start sea trials this year. It will be delivered to the Indian Navy in March 2024.
About India’s conventional submarine programs
According to official documents, the Indian Navy has two ongoing conventional submarine programs, with a third one on the way.
Phase I – P-75
Six submarines of Scorpene class (P-75) are to be constructed at Mazagon Dock Limited, Mumbai. The last submarine is likely to be delivered before the end of 2023.
Phase I – P-75(I)
Six submarines are to be constructed under P-75(I) under the Strategic Partnership model promulgated by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) on 31 May 2017. A multidisciplinary Empowered Project Committee (EPC) has been constituted by MoD on 15 February 2019 to steer the project from ‘EoI issuance’ to ‘Contract Conclusion’. The Request for Expression of Interest (REoI) for shortlisting of SPs and Foreign, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEMs) was issued on 20 June 2019 and 02 July 2019 respectively. The response of SPs have been received on 11 September 2019. The response of Foreign OEMs have been received on 24 September 2019. On 20 July 2021, the Indian MoD formally issued an RFP for the construction of the six submarines, worth ₹43,000 crore (US$5.4 billion), under the “Strategic Partnership” model. Nevertheless, the deadline of the RFP, which was initially scheduled for November 2021, was postponed to June 2022, and later again, to December 2022. According to MDL director, all problems have been sorted out and both MDL and LT will summit competing bids in a few months. The induction of the submarines would be between 2030 and 2035 if the project goes smoothly from now on…
Six submarines of an indigenous design are envisaged to be constructed in India in this phase with the experience gained and technology absorbed from construction of submarines under Phase I. The original target was for twelve boats: It has since been reportedly split between six conventional SSK and six nuclear-powered SSN.
About Scorpène type submarine
Scorpène is the conventional submarine designed by Naval Group for the export market. It demonstrates both Naval Group’s ability to deliver best in class submarines and to conduct successful transfers of technology. Today 14 Scorpène submarines are in operational service or being built, for the Chilean Navy (2 units), the Malaysian Navy (2 units), the Indian Navy (6 units) and the Brazilian Navy (4 units).
The Scorpène design is adapted to fit each navy’s specific requirements. Thus, the Brazilian Scorpène is slightly longer to carry a larger crew, almost double the patrol range, and be able to cover greater distances.
Scorpène is ideally suited for action and operational effectiveness. Robust and enduring, it’s an ocean-going submarine also designed for shallow waters operations. Multipurpose, it fulfils the entire scope of missions such as anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, special operations, offensive minelaying and intelligence gathering. Integrating improvements from French Barracuda-Class fast-attack submarine, Scorpène has cutting-edge capabilities.
P75 Kalvari-class by the numbers
+10 m with the future AIP Plug
-Up to 52 days
Surface : 1615 tons
Submerged: 1775 tons
-Up to 44 men
-High level of automation allowing the crew to be limited to 25, not counting
-Ability to carry and operate commandos
-6 x 533mm tubes
-Up to 18 heavyweight weapons.
-SM-39 Exocet antiship missile (MBDA)
-SUT 266 Legacy heavyweight torpedo (Atlas Elektronik)