UPSC Exam   »   India’s Kilo Class Submarines

India’s Kilo Class Submarines

”GS Paper – 3: Various Security Forces & Agencies & Their MandateIndigenization of Technology”

Why in News?
The CBI filed two charge sheets against serving and retired naval officers, and some others, for allegedly sharing details of the ongoing modernisation project of India’s Kilo Class submarines.

What is a Kilo Class Submarine?

  • The Kilo Class comprises imported submarines that are being retrofitted.
  • The Soviet Navy designed the original Kilo-class tranche, also known as Project 877 submarines, in the early 1980s for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare in shallow coastal waters.
  • The Kilo-class is generally smaller than Russia’s massive ballistic missile submarines, so-called boomers. Since its inception, the Kilo-class has been steadily improved and is represented by three variants: Project 877, Project Project 636, and the latest Project 636.3.

India’s Sindhughosh-Class (Type 877EM)

  • India possesses eight Sindhughosh-class diesel-electric attack submarines.
  • These Kilo-class units act as the mainstay of India’s submarine fleet and are being progressively retrofitted to accommodate the Klub/3M-54E Alfa cruise missile system.
  • These submarines are 72.6 meters long with a 9.9-meter-wide beam and can travel up to 18 knots when submerged.
  • They can remain submerged for about 45 days without surfacing.
  • Heir weapons systems are capable of firing torpedoes and anti-ship missiles.

History of India’s Kilo Class Submarines:

 

India's Kilo Class Submarines_40.1

  • India acquired eight such subs between 1986 and 1991. It later acquired two more submarines from the Russian Federation, between 1998 and 2000. They were the navy’s first submarines that could fire anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles from beneath the surface, making them a formidable force multiplier in the naval fleet.
  • One unit, the INS Sindhurakshak, was lost in an accident in 2013 and a second, the Sindhuvir, was transferred to the Myanmar navy last year.

Why does India Need Them?

  • One important capability which the Kilos provide India is their submarine-launched cruise missiles
  • They are equipped with the Russian supplied 3M-14E Club-S missile which is roughly similar to the American Tomahawk.
  • The Russian 3M-54E1 Klub-S submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) has an estimated 220-kilometre range against surface targets.

How many submarines does India have?

  • Currently, India has 15 conventional diesel-electric submarines, classified as SSKs, and one nuclear ballistic submarine, classified as SSBN.
  • Of the SSKs, four are Shishumar Class, which were bought and then built in India in collaboration with the Germans starting 1980s;
  • Eight are Kilo Class or Sindhughosh Class bought from Russia (including erstwhile USSR) between 1984 and 2000; and
  • Three are Kalvari Class Scorpene submarines built at India’s Mazagon Dock in partnership with France’s Naval Group, earlier called DCNS.
  • The SSBN, INS Arihant, is a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, built indigenously.
  • A second SSBN, INS Arighat, an upgraded version of Arihant, is likely to be commissioned within the next few months.
  • Most of India’s submarines are over 25 years old, and many are getting refitted.

What does India have and What is the requirement?

  • India needs more submarines for two reasons.
  • First, we need it for our own maritime security.
  • Second, the Chinese are going to be positioning a lot more ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean in the coming years.
  • China is giving Pakistan eight submarines and four destroyers, which can be used as a proxy by China. We need to handle that very soon, and move on P75I as fast as we can.”

What is P-75I?

The Project 75-class submarines, or P-75I, for short, are a planned class of diesel-electric submarines, which are to be built for the Indian Navy. The P-75I class is a follow-on of the P-75 class submarines of the Indian Navy.

India’s Submarine Import-Export Behavior
Imports
India has historically imported submarines from Germany, France, and Russia. In the last decade, it has decided to produce more vessels indigenously. For example, India originally planned to build four of its Scorpène-class submarines indigenously and import two. India has since announced that it wishes to produce all submarines natively. [24]

Exports
India is not an exporter of submarines. However, it decommissioned the INS Sindhuvir (S58) and sold it to the Myanmar Navy in March 2020, now called the UMS Minye Theinkhathu.

 

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