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INS Vagsheer submarine launch: How P75 Scorpene project will boost India’s naval capabilities

INS Vagsheer, sixth and last submarine of its class, is part of the ambitious P75 Scorpene project that aims to boost India’s naval capabilities.

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The sixth and last Scorpene-class submarine, INS Vagsheer, will be launched by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd on April 20. Four ultra-modern submarines – INS Kalvari, INS Khanderi, INS Karanj and INS Vela – have already been commissioned, while sea trials for INS Vagir are underway. All these submarines are part of the ambitious P75 Scorpene project that aims to boost India’s naval capabilities.

What is the P75 Scorpene project and how can it establish India’s supremacy at sea in the face of hostile neighbours?

According to reports, the project was conceptualised in April 1997 when IK Gujral was Prime Minister. Initially, it was a 30-year plan in which India was to build 24 submarines – 18 conventional and six nuclear-powered. In 2005, India and France signed a $3.75 billion-contract for building six Scorpene-class submarines. The project was to be executed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders for India and DCNS (now called Naval Group) for France.

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However, things have speeded up in the last seven years, with INS Kalvari being launched on October 27, 2015, and commissioned on December 14, 2017. INS Khanderi was launched on January 12, 2017, and commissioned on September 28, 2019. INS Karanj was launched on January 31, 2018, and commissioned on March 10, 2021.

INS Vela was launched on May 6, 2019, and commissioned on November 25, 2021. INS Vagir was launched on November 12, 2020, and sea trials have commenced since February 2022. As per reports, after being handed over to the Indian Navy on April 20, INS Vagsheer will undergo sea trials and is expected to join the naval fleet by March 2024.

In Pic: INS Vagir

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How lethal is INS Vagsheer?

At 221 feet long and 40 feet high, the diesel-electric submarine is run by 360 battery cells. It moves at a speed of 20 kmph on the surface of the water and 37 kmph below it. The submarine can go up to 350 feet underwater and remain in sea for almost 50 days. According to reports, the submarine can carry up to 18 torpedoes and lay about 30 mines simultaneously. Due to its stealth technology, it can evade enemy radar. The Indian Navy intends to use the submarines for area surveillance, intelligence gathering, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and minelaying operations.

 

In Pic: INS Vagsheer | Credit: ANI

Security analysts in India have often harped on increased naval capabilities as a deterrence against China and Pakistan. According to reports, Pakistan is believed to have 10 submarines, of which five French-origin Agosta 90B class (Khalid class) conventional vessels are fully operational.

On the other hand, China has six nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines and around 40 attack submarines, of which six are nuclear-powered, according to Military Balance, the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ annual assessment of global military capabilities.

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(With agency inputs)

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