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Explained: INS Karanj, the Scorpene-class submarine inducted into service 

The earlier version of the submarine, which was first commissioned in 1969 at Riga in the erstwhile USSR, had played a key role during the 1970-71 Indo-Pak war.

Written by Rounak Bagchi , Edited by Explained Desk | Kolkata |
Updated: March 12, 2021 7:42:02 am
INS KaranjINS Karanj is Indian Navy's third Scorpene-class conventional diesel electric submarine to be inducted into service. (Express Photo: Ganesh Shirsekar)

The Indian Navy on Wednesday (March 10, 2021) inducted its third Scorpene-class conventional diesel electric submarine, INS Karanj, into service.

It was commissioned into the Navy by former Navy Chief Admiral V S Shekhawat, who was the Commanding Officer of the earlier INS Karanj that was used in the 1971 India-Pakistan War, a Navy statement informed.

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The first submarine of the class, INS Kalvari, was commissioned in December 2017 and the second, INS Khanderi, in September 2019. A fourth submarine, Vela, was launched into the water in May 2019 and the fifth, Vagir, in November 2020, and both are undergoing sea trials. The sixth is in an advanced stage of outfitting.

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What are Scorpene-class submarines?

The Scorpene class submarines are one of the most advanced conventional submarines in the world. The submarine has superior stealth features, such as advanced acoustic silencing techniques, low radiated noise levels and ability to attack with precision-guided weapons on board.

The Indian Navy intends to use the submarines for missions such as area surveillance, intelligence gathering, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and minelaying operations. The submarines are armed with six torpedo-launching tubes, 18 heavy weapons, tube-launched MBDA SM-39 Exocet anti-ship missiles and precision-guided weapons. It can launch crippling attacks on surface and underwater enemy targets.

Moreover, the attack submarines can travel at a maximum submerged speed of approximately 20 knots and have the ability to remain submerged for 21 days. It has a diving depth of more than 350m.

The Scorpene class of submarines were designed by French naval shipbuilding firm DCNS in partnership with Spanish shipbuilding firm Navantia.

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What is so special about INS Karanj? 

Karanj has been equipped with the best sensors in the world and is fitted with an integrated platform management system to provide centralised propulsion and machinery control. The powerful diesel engines can quickly charge batteries for a stealthy mission profile. Also, its modular construction enables upgradation to air independent propulsion in future.

She is fitted with a permanent magnetic synchronous motor, making it one of the quietest submarines in the world.

Commanding Officer Captain Gaurav Mehta, who has served over 20 years in the navy, had said, “We can proudly say that Karanj is the first truly indigenous submarine. It encapsulates the spirit of ‘Make in India’. Karanj is like a child to us who we have seen growing into a war weapon.”

Project 75I

Under this project of the Indian Navy, six latest-generation attack submarines are being built. They are expected to be completed by 2022. The project is taking shape at Mazagon Dock in Mumbai.

Naval Group is among the five Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) shortlisted for the Navy’s project that was processed through the Strategic Partnership (SP) model of defence procurement. MDL and Larsen & Toubro are the two Indian companies shortlisted under it.

The History of Karanj

The earlier version of the submarine, which belonged to the Foxtrot class, was first commissioned in 1969 at Riga in the erstwhile USSR. A proposal to form a submarine arm, also referred to as the silent arm, of the Indian Navy was first envisaged in 1959, but it was only in 1964 that the Soviet government agreed for transfer by purchase for four Foxtrot-class submarines, of which INS Karanj was a part.

All the four constituted the 8th Submarine Squadron and played a key role during the 1970-71 Indo-Pak war. The INS Karanj went on to serve the nation for 34 years till 2003. In recognition of the valiant action of her officers and crew, a number of personnel were decorated, including the award of Vir Chakra to the then commanding officer V S Shekhawat.

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