Most vehicles that are designed for moving people and goods, Submarines, on the other hand, are designed for understanding and controlling the oceans, and the newest submarine commissioned in the Indian Navy falls under the latter one. The INS Khanderi is the second Kalvari class submarine inducted into the Indian Navy on 28 September 2019, with four ships of her class joining her soon in the coming years.
The Kalvari class submarine is based on the Scorpène-class submarine that is modified to meet the needs of the Indian Navy. It’s a diesel-electric attack submarines that is designed by Naval Group and constructed by Mazagon Dock Limited in India. The Scorpène’s design was chosen mainly because of its ability to fire SM.39 Exocet anti-ship missiles and to fit an air-independent propulsion system, but more on that later.
The primary purpose of an attack submarine is to hunt other vessels in the sea, and the Khanderi is no exception to this. It has six 21 inch torpedo tubes that fires can SUT torpedoes; however, they might be upgraded soon. It can arm itself with Exocet anti-ship missiles or mines in its place and even has the ability to fool its enemies with mobile C303/S anti-torpedo decoys.
Stealth is often the first line of defense of a Submarine, and the Scorpène-class excels in that. The overall ship is designed to reduce resistance from the water. Moreover, the equipment are mounted on shock-absorbing cradles that reduce noise signature. It has 4 V12 diesel engines that power its 360 batteries, each weighing 750 kg. With the help of Permanently Magnetised Propulsion Motor, which further reduces its noise signature, it moves at the speed of 11 knots (20 km/h) on the surface and 20 knots (37 km/h) when submerged. As mentioned above, the INS Khanderi was supposed to be equipped with the air-independent propulsion system, but due to the delays in the development of fuel cell-based AIP by DRDO, those plans were scrapped.
While it can dive upto 350 meters underwater, note that this is not its diving limit. The ship is manned by 8 offices and 35 sailors, and has 50 days of endurance in which it can remain submerged for 21 days. It has a range of 12,000 km while moving at 15 km/h on the surface and 1,020 km when moving at 9.3 km/h underwater.
The submarine is precisely what would you expect from a modern navy, and while it is not exactly state of the art, it will get the job done. As mentioned, the AIP system wasn’t installed during its construction, however, it can still be installed during a refit. The navy is trying to upgrade the Kalvari class further with heavyweight torpedoes as the SUT torpedoes are outdated for its time. They have also considered replacing or upgrading certain components of the ship due to the security leak.
Thus even though it’s not perfect, INS Khanderi will serve the nation with honor.