In a major breakthrough by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) an operational fuel cell-based Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system for Indian Naval Submarines has crossed several milestones in technology maturity.
This technology will play a critical role in defining Indian Navy's submarine operations as it will enhance the time the diesel electric submarines will spend submerged under water, increase endurance of the boat several folds. Once ready the DRDO AIP will be fitted in the Kalvari-class submarines. The Indian Navy is already in discussions with DRDO to help in integrating this in Project 75 submarines at the time of refits. Pakistan already has acquired submarines fitted with AIP system from China.
This Fuel cell-based AIP has merits in performance compared to other technologies. The successful operation of the land-based prototype engineered to the form-and-fit of a submarine was today witnessed by the Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh and Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy at the Naval Materials Research Laboratory, Ambernath today.
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Terming it as a great achievement for the country and the Indian Navy, Admiral Singh urged the DRDO and the Navy to continue the partnership to meet the timelines set for short and long-term goals.
Dr GS Satheesh gave his assurance that all efforts will be made to meet the standards and timelines will be met in an effort to ensure that the Made in India AIP is onboard operational submarines according to the schedule of the Indian Navy.
According to the Ministry of Defence those present included Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (West), Chief of Material Indian Navy, Director General (Naval Systems & Materials), Director General (Armament & Combat Engineering Systems), Director (Naval Materials Research Laboratory) and Directors of participating laboratories.