Indian Navy to add firepower, plans six nuclear powered submarines
New Delhi, Dec 30: To strengthen its underwater fleet, the Indian Navy plans to build 24 submarines, including six nuclear attack submarines, a parliamentary panel was told.
The Navy also told the panel that Medium Refit Life Certification (MRLC) of submarine Sindhuraj has been held up since the Russian side has not been able to submit bank guarantees and integrity pact due to sanctions imposed by the US.
In its report tabled this month, the Navy stated that there are presently 15 conventional submarines and two nuclear submarines in its fleet.
The Indian Navy has two nuclear submarines - INS Arihant and INS Chakra, the latter being leased from Russia.
The majority of the conventional submarines are over 25 years old. Thirteen submarines age between 17 and 32 years, it said.
"Eighteen (conventional) + six SSN (nuclear attack submarines) are planned but the existing strength is 15 and one is available on lease," it stated.
The Indian Ocean Region, the area of operations of the Indian Navy has witnessed rising activities of the Chinese Navy. On its part, the Indian Navy has been revamping its infrastructure, including procuring new ships.
Due to the delay in the submarine construction projects, including the Six Project 75 submarines at Mazagaon Docks, Mumbai, the Defence Ministry has approved Medium Refit cum Life Certification or MRLC of six older submarines, so that the force levels do not decline drastically, the report stated.
With regards to the MRLC of first submarine, work has already commenced in Russia on July 16 and is on schedule.
"Contract conclusion for MRLC of second submarine, Sindhuraj, is held up since the Russian side has not been able to submit requisite bank guarantees and integrity pact as a result of the sanctions imposed by the US Govt on them," it said.
The Navy has also recommended to the Defence Ministry that corporate guarantee of the JSC USC, a 100 per cent Russian government-owned firm, could be accepted and fast-track approval of the competent authority accorded for contract conclusion.
The US has imposed sanctions on Moscow citing several reasons ranging from annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine to Russia with the recent one being the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
"The Russian side indicated M/s L&T as their preferred partner for undertaking MRLC of the third Submarine Sindhuratna in India," it added.