Home Asia Pacific India commissions third Scorpene diesel-electric sub amid AIP breakthrough

India commissions third Scorpene diesel-electric sub amid AIP breakthrough

INS Karanj in Mumbai
INS Karanj commissioning ceremony. Photo: Indian Navy

The Indian Navy commissioned its third diesel-electric Scorpene class submarine INS Karanj at the Naval Dockyard Mumbai on March 10.

The commissioning ceremony took place after the boat was delivered in February this year by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, the Indian shipbuilder building the six submarines in the class under a transfer of technology agreement with French shipbuilder Naval Group.

More interestingly, the ceremony follows an announcement on India’s breakthrough in the field of air-independent propulsion (AIP) technology. On March 9, the country’s research and development organization (DRDO) said it had tested an AIP system on a land-based prototype.

Air-independent propulsion in diesel-electric submarines allows them to stay submerged for longer periods of time as they do not need to surface as often for air. This enhances their stealth characteristics.

DRDO says the tests showed that the indigenously developed AIP was ready for installation aboard ships. The agency did not provide details on whether all six submarines will be retrofitted with the technology or when the undertaking would start.

India has so far launched five Scorpene or Kalvari-class submarines and expects to receive all boats in the class by 2023.

The diesel-electric attack submarines are 67.5 meters long and can deploy SUT heavyweight torpedoes or SM.39 Exocet anti-ship missiles. They have an endurance of 50 days and a range of 6,500 nautical miles.