DRDO And Naval Group Reach Agreement On Indigenous AIP Modules On Scorpene Submarines
- This is a natural extension of the strategic cooperation between France and India in the field of underwater defence and deterrence.
- The second, INS Khanderi, will go into service in September 2019, the third, INS Karanj, in March 2021, and the fourth, INS Vela, in November 2021.
In an important step that will make the Indian Navy’s Scorpene-class conventional submarines last much longer, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Naval Group have agreed to instal the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system, which uses fuel cells, on the INS Kalvari soon.
The Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL) of DRDO came up with the AIP, and a land-based prototype has been tested.
The DRDO said in a statement, “This new project between the DRDO and Naval Group France will be a very important step toward the detailed design certification of the energy module, which will be done by the NMRL in collaboration with Indian industry, and the design of the platforms affected by the integration of the Indian AIP into the Indian submarine by Naval Group.”
“These steps will make it easy to start localising and manufacturing AIP, including making the submarines’ hulls in India so that they can be put on board in the future.”
Defense sources say that the project was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security in March 2022. After getting approval and going through the Detailed Design Phase, the DRDO has started putting out bids for different types of equipment, officials said.
The AIP will be put on the first Scorpene-class submarine, INS Kalvari, during its first refit in 2024.
An AIP module acts as a force multiplier because it lets regular submarines stay underwater for longer, which increases their endurance and makes them harder to find.
Even though there are different kinds of AIP systems being worked on around the world, the DRDO has said that the fuel cell-based AIP that is being developed is unique because the hydrogen is made onboard, which makes it better than other technologies in terms of performance.
“The NMRL was able to develop this technology with the help of Indian industry partners. “The technology has reached the point where it is ready to be used in industry,” the DRDO said.
Pierre Eric Pommellet, Chairman and CEO of Naval Group, spoke at the event in Mumbai. He said, “We are very proud to work with Indian stakeholders to safely integrate the DRDO AIP into the MDL-built Kalvari-class submarines.
This is a natural extension of the strategic cooperation between France and India in the field of underwater defence and deterrence. It also shows the Naval Group’s continued commitment to the aatmanirbhar bharat policy.
Under Project-75, the MDL is building six Scorpene submarines with technology from Naval Group of France. This is part of a $3.75 billion deal signed in October 2005. The project is running about four years late.
The first submarine, INS Kalvari, went into service in December 2017. The second, INS Khanderi, will go into service in September 2019, the third, INS Karanj, in March 2021, and the fourth, INS Vela, in November 2021.