Navy plans 24 submarines to strengthen fleet

18 conventional and 6 nuclear attack submarines are on the cards

December 30, 2019 12:58 am | Updated 12:58 am IST - New Delhi

To strengthen its underwater fleet, the Navy plans to build 24 submarines, including six nuclear attack submarines, a parliamentary panel was told.

The Navy also told the panel that Medium Refit Life Certification (MRLC) of submarine Sindhuraj was held up since the Russian side had not been able to submit bank guarantees and the integrity pact due to sanctions imposed by the U.S.

In its report tabled this month, the Navy said that there are presently 15 conventional submarines and two nuclear submarines in its fleet. The Navy has two nuclear submarines INS Arihant and INS Chakra, with the latter being leased from Russia.

Over 25 years old

A majority of the conventional submarines are over 25 years old. Thirteen submarines age between 17 and 32 years, it said.

“Eighteen [conventional] + six SSN [nuclear attack submarines] are planned...,” it stated.

The Indian Ocean Region, the area of operations of the Navy, has witnessed rising activities of the Chinese Navy. On its part, the Indian Navy has been revamping its infrastructure, including procuring new ships.

Due to the delay in the submarine construction projects, including the Six Project 75 submarines at Mazagaon Docks, Mumbai, the Defence Ministry has approved Medium Refit cum Life Certification or MRLC of six older submarines, the report stated.

With regards to the MRLC of the first submarine, work has already commenced in Russia on July 16 and is on schedule.

“Contract conclusion for MRLC of second submarine, Sindhuraj, is held up since the Russian side has not been able to submit requisite bank guarantees and integrity pact as a result of the sanctions imposed by the U.S. government on them,” it said.

The U.S. has imposed sanctions on Moscow citing several reasons ranging from annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine to Russia with the recent one being the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. “The Russian side indicated L&T as their preferred partner for undertaking MRLC of the third Submarine Sindhuratna in India,” the Navy added.

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