Defence public sector undertaking (PSU) Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders (MDSL) will hand over its fifth Scorpene-class submarine INS Vagir to the Indian Navy by the end of this year or early next year, a top company.
The pace of construction and deliveries of submarines and ships over the last couple of years to ensure adherence to the agreed timelines. The first of the six Scorpene-class submarines, INS Kalvari, was launched in 2015 and commissioned into service in late 2017.
MDSL is working with French collaborator Naval Group, on transfer of technology for the submarines under Project 75 (P75) with the deal valued at over Rs 23,000 crore. (This project should not be confused with P75I (Project 75 India), which envisages construction of the long-pending Rs 42,000 crore, six stealth submarines, which will be built by MDSL and L&T.
Since 2017 MDSL has delivered one submarine every year to the Indian Navy. INS Khanderi was launched in 2017 followed by INS Karanj in 2018 and INS Vela in 2019. Due to the Covid-19 disruption, the company suffered a setback of about three months in the development of the fifth submarine, known as INS Vagir.
Scorpene submarines are a class of diesel-electric attack submarines that claim to have stealth features. This class of submarines is designed to remain submerged for longer durations and undertake operations such as intelligence gathering as well as participate in special operations during hostilities. Chile, Malaysia and Brazil are the other countries that possess these submarines.
India currently has 17 submarines, including two ballistic missile submarines and one nuclear-powered attack submarine. The Indian Navy also has 14 conventionally-powered submarines, developed in collaboration with French, Russian and German companies.
Foccus on ‘Make in India’ and simultaneous surge in demand from the Ministry of Defence, MDSL was forced to overlook demand emerging from outside India. The last vessel it delivered to an overseas client was in 2014.
They have exported 243 ships till date. The last ships we delivered were in 2012 and 2014 to the Bahamas and Mexico, which were multi-support vessels of about 7,000 tonnes. Thereafter we stopped our exports because our hands were full with the naval (Indian Navy) orders.