History was written at MDL, today, on 21 September 2017, with the delivery of the first Scorpene submarine, Kalvari, to the Indian Navy. This historic event reaffirms the giant strides taken by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) in the ongoing ‘Make In India’ programme, which is being actively implemented by the Department of Defence Production (MoD). Coming in the 50th year of Indian submarine operations (which is being celebrated as the Golden Jubilee of the Submarine Arm), the occasion has that extra special significance. Post delivery, the submarine would soon be commissioned into the Indian Navy.
The contract for the construction and Transfer-of-Technology for six Scorpene submarines in series, with M/s DCNS of France as ‘Collaborator’ and MDL as ‘Builder’, was signed in Oct 2005.
Kalvari is named after the dreaded Tiger Shark, a deadly deep sea predator of the Indian Ocean. As is the tradition, ships and submarines of the Navy, are re-incarnated after decommissioning. So it is with Kalvari.
The first Kalvari, commissioned on 08 December 1967, was also the first submarine of the Indian Navy. She was decommissioned on 31 May 1996 after almost 30 years of yeoman service to the nation. In true nautical tradition, she will now be re-incarnated, by Mazagon Dock, once again a powerful predator of the deep, guarding the vast maritime interests of our nation.
The state-of-art technology utilised in the Scorpene has ensured superior stealth features such as advanced acoustic silencing techniques, low radiated noise levels, hydro-dynamically optimised shape and the ability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision guided weapons. The attack can be launched with both torpedoes and tube launched anti-ship missiles, whilst underwater or on surface. The stealth of this potent platform is enhanced by the special attention given to various signatures. These stealth features give it an invulnerability, unmatched by most submarines.
Scorpene submarines can undertake multifarious types of missions i.e Anti-Surface warfare, Anti-Submarine warfare, Intelligence gathering, Mine Laying, Area Surveillance etc. The Submarine is designed to operate in all theatres, with means provided to ensure interoperability with other components of a Naval Task Force. It is a potent platform, marking a generational shift in submarine operations.
With the delivery of Kalvari, MDL has mastered the complex art of submarine building and India has cemented its position as a submarine building nation. MDL has more than lived up to its reputation as a premier shipbuilding yard under the Department of Defence Production, which has immensely facilitated all aspects of this prestigious and critical defence project.
The second of the Scorpenes under construction at MDL, Khanderi, was launched in January 2017, and is currently undergoing the rigorous phase of sea trials. The third Scorpene, Karanj, is being readied for launch later this year. The balance submarines are in various stages of outfitting.
The Scorpene project would not have achieved the current progress without the unconditional support and active encouragement of the Department of Defence Production (MoD) throughout its various phases.
It is pertinent to mention that the two MDL built SSK submarines are still in service today, after more than 20 years; testimony to the skill and capability of Mazagon Dock.
Leveraging the experience and the transfer-of-technology of the Scorpene project, with enhanced and upgraded infrastructure, MDL, under the aegis of the Department of Defence Production, is ready for undertaking construction of the next generation submarines.