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INS Kalvari: India’s first Scorpene-class submarine commissioned by PM Modi

INS Kalvari is India’s first Scorpene-class submarine and will be commissioned into the Indian Navy by PM Narendra Modi today 14 December 2017.

  The INS Kalvari is a diesel-electric attack submarine that has been built for the Indian Navy by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited. It is the first of six such submarines that will be inducted into the Indian Navy, and represents a significant success for the "Make in India" initiative. The project has been undertaken with French collaboration.

  INS Kalvari, according to the Ministry of Defence, has the capability of undertaking offensive operations “spanning the entire spectrum of maritime warfare”. And it will be a timely addition to the Indian Navy when the ties with China and Pakistan are under pressure.

 Kalvari is named after the dreaded Tiger Shark, a deadly deep sea predator of the Indian Ocean.

 INS Kalvari is 67.5 metres long and has a height of 12.3 metres. The submarine “embodies cutting-edge technology and compares favourably with the best in the world”. “The hull form, the fin and the hydroplanes are specifically designed to produce minimum underwater resistance. The 360 battery cells (each weighing 750 kg) power the extremely silent permanently magnetised propulsion motor. The stealth is further enhanced through the mounting of equipment inside the pressure hull on shock absorbing cradles,” says the Ministry of Defence.

 Equipped with 18 torpedoes and with a capacity to travel 1,020 km underwater, it can dive to a depth of 300 metres  to effectively avoid detection by the enemies. With precision-guided weapons, it can launch a deadly attack with torpedoes and tube-launched anti-ship missiles underwater or even from the surface. This Scorpene submarine is designed to operate in all theatres of war, including the tropics. Kalvari is capable of handling various missions such as anti-surface warfare (attacking surface ships), anti-submarine warfare (destroying submarines), intelligence gathering, mine-laying and area surveillance.


 “The submarine’s attack and search periscopes are equipped with infrared/low light level cameras and laser range finders. Kalvari has two 1250 kW MAN diesel engines for rapidly charging batteries. The submarine boasts of a highly advanced combat management system and a sophisticated integrated platform management system,” adds the Ministry of Defence. The submarine’s crest depicts a Kalvari, which is a tiger shark in Malayalam. The submarine’s motto is “Ever Onward”.

INS Kalvari was built with a special kind of high-tensile steel that is capable of withstanding high yield stress. This feature allows it to withstand pressure exerted by water, hydrostatic force, while diving deeper to enhance stealth.

It is also capable of carrying weapons that can be easily reloaded at sea.

It has undergone extensive sea-trials over the past year-and-a-half and has successfully test-fired anti-ship missiles and torpedos. These precision-strike weapons give Kalvari and as a result the Indian Navy, a tactical advantage and leg-up in the Indian Ocean region. All six ‘Make in India’ Scorpene-class submarines will be equipped with torpedos and anti-ship missiles that have a proven track record in combat. According to the Indian Navy, the missiles will provide INS Kalvari with the “ability to neutralise surface threats at extended ranges”.

At a time when Indian Navy is down to a dozen submarines, the importance of Kalvari’s commissioning cannot be understated. The Kalvari, having been manufactured in India under Project 75, also gives the defence industry the capability of building more advanced submarines in the future.


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