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Indian Navy becomes more potent with submarine INS Khanderi, new aircraft carrier dry dock and launch of a frigate

Huma Siddiqui
Indian Navy, submarine, INS Khanderi, new aircraft carrier, dry dock, frigate, Mazagon Dock Limited, MDL, defence news, Nilgiri

With the commissioning of the 2nd of P-75 submarines to be named 'Khanderi'; and the commissioning of the dry dock, Indian Navy's combat potential grows manifold. The day also witnessed the launching of the first of the P-17A ships 'Nilgiri' to be built by the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL).

These three events on a single day in the presence of the defence minister Rajnath Singh and top naval officials are critical to the Indian Navy. The minister after Commissioning of 'Khanderi' and launch of 'Nilgiri' by Mrs Savitri Singh also inaugurated the dry dock.

The minister later departer to spend a day at the sea with the Navy onboard INS Vikramaditya, and will witness all the naval action including a missile firing and various other exercises at sea before returning to Delhi on Sept 29.

The Indian Navy has been focussing on indigenisation and submarine and shipbuilding are very complex and are a technological challenge. Besides job creation, skill generation, the Indian Naval projects ensure that several hundreds of MSMEs are involved.

Presently, out of 51 ships which are under construction at various shipyards in and out of the country, 49 out of them are with Indian shipyards. In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of 'SAGAR' (Security and Growth for All in the Region), the Indian Navy through its mission-based deployments are already the first responder and security provider in the region of Indian Ocean and beyond.

INS Khanderi

Khanderi is the name of Tiger Shark and it will be commissioned in the Western Naval Command, Mumbai. According to the Indian Navy, it is among the most potent platforms to have been constructed in India. And it will carry forward the legacy of her namesake, a Soviet Foxtrot Class, which was India's second submarine and in service for more than two decades.

Designated as MDL Yard 11876, the first cutting of the steel started in 2009 and was initially constructed in five separate sections. Before being welded together in one piece in 2016. It is 66-metre long and is made of special steel.

It can be launched in all kinds of missions like anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, mine laying and area surveillance. It has the capability of carrying 18 torpedoes and tube-launched anti-ship missiles underwater or from the surface.

The ship’s crest

It is inspired by the fish "Kanneri" found in the Arabian Sea and is known to hunt close to the bottom of the ocean.

The Dry Dock

It is Indian Navy's biggest dry dock and has a capacity to hold an aircraft carrier. The dry dock which has taken over a decade for completion has been described as state-of-the-art. The floor of the dock is made of 1.5-metre thick reinforced concrete and it juts almost 300-metres into the sea.

WATCH VIDEO | Indian Navy Scorpene class submarine INS Khanderi: It’s a deadly deep-sea predator

The dry dock inaugurated, is surrounded by the Arabian Sea on three sides and has been constructed by the Hindustan Construction Company. During construction, a cofferdam was built which helped in keeping the seawater out.

Built at a cost of Rs 1000 crore, and has 8000-metric tonnes of steel and almost five-lakh metric tonnes of concrete has been used. According to the Indian Navy the dry dock measures 281 metres long, 45 metres wide and almost 17 metres deep. It has the capacity to accommodate aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and the indigenous under-construction INS Vikrant. In case smaller ships need service then two of them can be accommodated in place of an aircraft carrier. The dock is used for the maintenance and repair of the ships.

The dock which has a capacity to hold water equivalent to around 80 Olympic size swimming pools, has around eight pumps which can empty the water from the dry dock in around three hours.

Expert View

"The commissioning of INS Khanderi will give a much-needed boost to India's sagging undersea warfare capability. Khanderi is the second of six submarines being built at Mazagon Docks Ltd in collaboration with Naval Group of France and is based on the design of the Scorpene class. INS Kalvari, the first of the class was commissioned in December 2017," says veteran submariner Commodore Anil Jai Singh.

According Singh, Vice President of the Indian Maritime Foundation, "The contract for Project 75 was signed in 2005 and is presently running more than six years behind schedule. This has had an impact on India's submarine capability at a time when China is flexing its maritime military muscle in the Indian Ocean and its submarines are regularly sighted operating in these waters. However, the silver lining is that an indigenous submarine building capability does to some extent alleviate India's dependence on imported military hardware which is a strategic vulnerability that our country can ill-afford.

However, the endeavour of the government should be to develop an indigenous design and manufacturing capability which is the real measure of indigenization. While the Scorpene class is a contemporary design and is equipped to fire both, torpedoes and missiles, the lack of an Air Independent Propulsion System onboard is a serious vulnerability because it compromises the submarine's ability to stay dived and concealed for extended periods of time, he adds.