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Navy set to upgrade,boost existing fleet

z Upgrade for Shishumar class of subs likely first

With the Sindhurakshak tragedy impairing the Navy’s underwater capabilities,several projects to upgrade the existing fleet of submarines and expedite the procurement of new vessels have been fast-tracked.

The proposals being expedited include an upgrade for the Shishumar class (HDW Type 209) of submarines to equip them with anti-ship missiles,a fire control system upgrade for a Kilo submarine,simulators for training the crew on weapons firing and tenders for a new range of conventional submarines.

Sources said the upgrade for the Shishumar class of submarines is likely to be cleared at the earliest. It will be a major capability enhancement over the current weapon complement that consists of torpedoes and mines. The upgrade for two of the four submarines of the class with the Navy is likely to cost under Rs 1,000 crore,which will include the purchase of nearly 100 Harpoon missiles from the US. The original manufacturers of the submarine,German firm HDW,will be roped in for the upgrade and training of the crew. While INS Shalki and Shankul will be upgraded,a decision on the other two will be taken later.

To reduce crew training costs and conserve the life of the submarine,two torpedo simulators will also be purchased from Germany.

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Since the number of operational submarines with the Navy after the Sindhurakshak incident has effectively come down to 11,efforts are on to get the two Kilo class submarines that are up for refit back into service at the earliest. The Navy is focusing on procuring a new set of fire control system for a Kilo class vessel — most likely the INS Sindhukirti — which will cost close to Rs 100 crore.

Fresh impetus has also been given to issuing tenders for a new range of conventional submarines (P 75I) that will be equipped with Air Independent Propulsion to ensure long underwater endurance. While the tenders have been pending since last year,the Navy obtained an extension of the Acceptance of Necessity from the Defence Ministry. Sources said a final round of consultation with the likely contenders for the contract — companies based in France,Germany,Spain and Russia — is currently on and the final requirements in the tender will be frozen shortly by the Navy. After delays that have lasted over a year,the request for proposal (RFP) for the new generation of submarines is likely to be issued before December.

Shopping list

* TWO torpedo simulators to reduce crew training costs

* A new set of fire control system for a Kilo class vessel which will cost close to Rs 100 crore

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* A new range of conventional submarines (P 75I) that will be equipped with Air Independent Propulsion to ensure long underwater endurance

First published on: 09-09-2013 at 03:02 IST
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