Navy submarine sent to Russia for refit

Navy submarine sent to Russia for refit

With its underwater arm depleting steadily, the Navy has once again begun sending its submarines to Russia for mid-life refit, which would increase the boat's life by another 10 years.

The first one to leave is INS Sindhukesari that would be reaching the Russian dockyard by May end. It will be there for a year for structural overhaul and upgrading the sensor package. A total of 4 Russian-origin Kilo class submarines would receive the mid-life upgrade besides two German HDW class submarines in a Rs 4,800 crore package.

Commissioned in 1989, INS Sindhukesari has completed its design life of 25 years. 2 other boats to be refitted INS Sindhudhvaj (commissioned in 1987) and INS Sindhuraj (1987) too have finished their designed lives and badly require overhauling to continue in the service. The fourth one INS Sindhurashtra (2000) is relatively new. In addition, 2 Shishumar (HDW) class submarines would undergo the refit, which will take place in Visakhapatnam. Out of the 4 Russian submarines, 2 would be refitted in Russia and the other 2 in Mumbai.

The ill-fated INS Sindhurakshak that exploded and sunk off Mumbai on August 14, 2013 was refitted in a Rs 815.66 crore package. It joined the service, few weeks before the explosion. Another Kilo class submarine, INS Sindhuratna that was damaged in a fire in February 2014, has been rewired and trials are now going on to bring it back to active service.

The strength of India's underwater arm is dwindling, restraining Navy’s capability. The first Scorpene submarine (to be named INS Kalvari) is expected around September 2016, but it would not have its torpedo as the government has halted all new commercial transactions with the supplier company under the scam-tainted Finmeccanica group.

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