The Indian Navy on Thursday commissioned INS Vela, its fourth stealth Scorpene class submarine under Project 75. The induction of the submarine will boost the Navy’s combat capability. Project 75 includes the construction of six submarines of Scorpene design. Three of these submarines – Kalvari, Khanderi, Karanj – have already been commissioned.
The submarine has been built by Mumbai-based Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd in collaboration with M/s Naval Group of France. The previous avatar of INS Vela was commissioned on August 31, 1973 and it rendered yeoman service to the nation for 37 eventful years before being decommissioned on June 25, 2010.
The new ‘Vela’ is a potent man o’ war and is capable of offensive operations that span across the entire spectrum of maritime warfare, the Navy said.
Induction of the submarine consolidates the Indian Navy’s position as a builder’s Navy significantly and adds sharpness and strength to its combat capability, it added. The submarine is equipped with C303 anti torpedo countermeasure system and can carry up to 18 torpedoes or Exocet anti-ship missiles or 30 mines in place of torpedoes.
Vela is a diesel-electric powered attack submarine. It has a length of 67.5 metres and height of 12.3 metres. The beam measures 6.2 metres. It can reach a top speed of 20 knots when submerged and a surface top speed of 11 knots.
The submarine has four MTU 12V 396 SE84 diesel engines and 360 battery cells for power. It has a silent Permanently Magnetised Propulsion Motor. The hull, fin and hydroplanes are designed for minimum underwater resistance. All equipment inside the pressure hull is mounted on shock-absorbing cradles for enhanced stealth.
The Project 75 was conceptualised at the time of the IK Gujral government for the acquisition for 25 submarines. In 2005, India and France signed a $ 3.75 billion contract for building six Scorpene class submarines.
The project has been dogged by delays and questions over the reluctance of the Franec government to act on the commitment for “transfer of technology” that was an integral part of the contract. As a result, the first of the six subs, INS Kalvari, was commissioned five years behind schedule, in 2017.
Earlier on Sunday, Indian Navy’s stealth guided-missile destroyer Visakhapatnam was commissioned in Mumbai. The indigenously-built warship is packed with an array of missiles and anti-submarine rockets.