Defence

India launches third Scorpene submarine

The third French-origin Scorpene-class submarine constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) for the Indian Navy, was launched today,31 January 2018 by Mrs Reena Lanba, President Navy Wives Welfare Association, who also  named it as ‘Karanj’ and wished her good fortune. Present at the launch were Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba. 

Feb 2, 2018
By Anil Bhat
 
The third French-origin Scorpene-class submarine constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) for the Indian Navy, was launched today,31 January 2018 by Mrs Reena Lanba, President Navy Wives Welfare Association, who also  named it as ‘Karanj’ and wished her good fortune. Present at the launch were Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba. 
 
If Karanj make the Indian Navy’s tally of submarines 17, then it still has 12 conventional submarines which are very old. And while India has achieved its nuclear triad-capability to launch a nuclear warhead by land, air and sea - with its own built Arihant - that remains the sole underwater nuclear weapons platform available if India is already hit with a nuke and wants to respond.  
 
Vice Admirals Girish Luthra, FOC-in-C, Western Naval Command and D M Deshpande, Controller Warship Production & Acquisition, Rear Admiral Guillame de Garidel, Head of Asia Pacific, Direction Générale de l'Armement, France and other senior officers and dignitaries from Defence Ministry, MDL and Maharashtra state government.  
 
This submarine, the second version of Karanj, will now undergo rigorous trials and tests, both in harbour and at sea before it is commissioned into the Navy. The old Karanj was operational for 34 years from 1969 to 2003 including in the 1971 India-Pakistan war.
 
During his address, Admiral Lanba, said that the launch of Karanj marked a significant departure from the manning and training philosophy that was adopted for the first two submarines and added that from third submarine onwards the Navy would be fully self reliant in training and certification processes. He also mentioned that the state-of- the-art technology utilised for construction of the Scorpene class submarines has ensured superior stealth features such as advanced acoustic silencing techniques, low radiated noise levels, hydro-dynamically optimized shape and the ability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision guided weapons. Karanj can attack with both torpedoes and tube launched anti-ship missiles, whilst underwater or on surface. Its stealth has been enhanced by the special attention given to various signatures, which makes it less vulnerable than most submarines.
 
Designed to operate in all theatres, Scorpene submarines can undertake multifarious types of missions i.e anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, mine laying, area surveillance and is interoperable with other components of a Naval Task Force. It is a potent platform, marking a generational shift in submarine operations.
 
On 14 December 2017, INS Kalvari, the first Scorpene class submarine was commissioned into the Indian Navy. Khanderi, the second Scorpene class submarine launched in January 2017 is currently undergoing the rigorous phase of sea trials, is scheduled to be delivered shortly. INS Kalvari, which took eight years to build has been inducted five years behind schedule.
 
(The author, a retired Army officer and strategic analyst, can be contacted at wordsword02@gmail.com)

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