Bangalore, Aug 14:Two naval tragedies on board and a couple of questions are enough to understand the gravity of the circumstances Indian defence forces work in. While the Airforce still struggles with the MiG helicopters and jets, the Navy too has quite a bit in its hands to take care of.
In the 2010 accident, a similar fire broke out onboard INS Sindhurakshak, when the vessel was in Vishakapatnam. One sailor was killed and 2 others were injured in the incident. Inquiry reports state that the fire broke out due to an explosion in the submarine's battery compartment, which had a faulty battery valve leaking Hydrogen.
Post this incident, the submarine was sent to Russia for a refit for two and half years.Repaired under the Project 08773 in Zvezdochka shipyard, the ship went through a whole lot of overhaul, which included improved electronic warfare systems, integrated weapon control system and a new cooling system.
In fact, these were expected to add 10 years to the functionality of the vessel. Some of the other changes included the Club-S cruise missile, USHUS sonar, СCS-MK-2 radio communication systems and Porpoise radar.
The submarine was finally handed back to India in January 2013. Just seven months later, a second accident struck the ill-fated vessel in a similar way, contradicting the 10 year functional life.
With such increasing incidents in the defence forces in the country, it is pertinent that the entire system and infrastructure needs an overhaul. It is not enough to depend on foreign countrie for overhauling and designing, but requires indigenous high-end manufacturing units to look into design and execution, without wasting time and money.