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Indian Attack Submarine to Conduct Final Trials After 9 Years In Yard for Upgrades

Attack submarine INS Sindhukirti is undocked at Vizag yard after refit work took more than nine years. Photo courtesy The Economic Times.

Attack submarine INS Sindhukirti is undocked at Vizag yard after refit work took more than nine years. Photo courtesy The Economic Times.

India’s Kilo-class attack submarine INS Sindhukirti (S-61) is set to return to the fleet soon, with its final “full-power trials” beginning Friday after the ship spent nearly 10 years undergoing refit work.

The Indian Navy’s fleet has shrunk over time, with the country now owning only 13 attack submarines, and only half of them fully operational, The Economic Times reported. And 10 of the 13 submarines are more than 25 years old, which is the expected service life for that ship class. The country also leases a nuclear-powered attack submarine without nuclear missiles onboard from Russia.

Despite the need for Sindhukirti in the fleet, it has been stuck in the Hindustan Shipyard since early 2006 due to both “gross mismanagement” and “alleged perfidy by Russian experts,” according to the article. The medium refit was only supposed to take three years to complete.

Though several years late, the sub now has a new hull, weapons, sonars and fire control system. It was also upgraded to include the capability of firing a 300-km Klub-S land-attack missile from its torpedo tubes.

India’s submarine fleet may face challenges for years to come. Six Scorpene-class submarines are being built at Mazagon Docks and expected to deliver from 2016 to 2020, but they will just replace existing submarines, which will be well past the end of their service life by the time the replacements arrive. An effort to build six new stealth submarines with foreign collaboration, called Project-75India, is nowhere close to being funded, The Economic Times reported – and it would still take another decade once the funding is appropriated.

Further depleting the operational fleet, six submarines are slated to undergo midlife upgrades and life extensions soon. Two Sindhughosh-class subs will undergo the work in Russia, while two more and two Shishumar-class submarines will have the work performed in India.

  • India needs to develop it’s submarine capabilities and even go with a single SSK, SSN and SSBN design.

    • Rob C.

      They can barely fix what they have, your proposing them to expand?

      • Keep a single SSK fleet, SSN fleet and SSBN fleet

  • Grampian Guy

    Dear Megan, For your kind information, Kilo class submarines have a full service life of 35 years and none of Indian kilo submarines are that old yet. They all are undergoing MLU and ELU to take care of this feature. Check this fact before giving your opinion.

    • Ctrot

      Possibly in theory, but there are no active Kilo’s that old and there have been numerous Kilos retired and scrapped before reaching 35 years of service. So maybe you shouldn’t be so cocksure of yourself.

      • Grampian Guy

        If you could check the age and operating status of Polish, Algerian and Russian Kilo class submarines compared to Indian ones, before passing your judgment, that may have made you look a little less stupid. Do a bit research, will you?

        • Ctrot

          You are the one who needs to do some research. The very first Kilo class submarine was commissioned in December 1980, that is 34 and half years ago (IE less than your claimed 35 years) and it is no longer in active service. There has NEVER been a Kilo that has served for 35 years and there have been NUMEROUS Kilo boats that were scraped before they reached 25 years of service.

          • Grampian Guy

            I wonder where you get your data and logic from !!! A country can decide to decommission its ships/boats based on its OWN NEEDS. So if some Kilo class subs were retired before reaching their 35 years service life, that doesn’t reduce their capability. It doesn’t become their new retirement age.
            Going by your tinted-glass argument, Japanese Harushio subs were retired at reaching 20 years at most, so they only have 20 years service life ?? Can you see how stupid your argument is?? Kilo subs like Chita, Vyborg, Orzel are still in service which are older than Indian subs. Don’t argue for the argument sake. The day submarines will not be seaworthy, they will be retired by any Navy.

          • Ctrot

            Wrong, not “some” Kilos were retired before 35 years of service, ALL have been. Every Single One.

            You claimed Kilos run for 35 years, there is ZERO evidence for that. As I first stated, maybe a Kilo can last that long. But there is, thus far, NO empirical evidence of it.

            I did the research you said I should do, I proved you wrong and you still, 3 weeks later, continue to argue the point. Take your own advise, don’t argue for arguments sake.

  • magic3400

    “…9 Years In Yard for Upgrades”

    That’s hilarious…

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