- The Virginia class submarine weighs more than 10,200 tonnes and is powered by a nuclear reactor that uses enriched uranium from weapons that is 97% of its fuel.
- India is expected to lease one nuclear attack submarine from Russia in 2025 to replace the leased INS Chakra.
The Indian Navy is likely to go to the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) to get approval for building three diesel attack submarines with air independent propulsion (AIP) at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) with help from the French Naval Group.
It is known that MDL will be given the contract to build three AIP submarines based on the needs of the Indian Navy. MDL has already made six submarines for the Indian Navy that are in the Kalveri class. These submarines are based on the French Scorpene class, and the sixth one, INS Vagsheer, should be put into service before March 2024.
The Defense Research and Development Organization will make the AIP for the three submarines, but the French Naval Group will test and approve it. The same AIP will then be put back into the submarines of the Kalveri class when they come to MDL for a mid-life overhaul.
In light of the AUKUS alliance, in which US and UK nuclear-powered submarines will patrol the west coast of Australia and other areas as soon as 2027, India wants to improve its submarine fleet by building three nuclear-powered submarines with conventional weapons, like the latest 4765-ton Barracuda class, in partnership with France.
According to the AUKUS deal, the US will sell three Virginia-class submarines to Australia in the 2030s, and Australia may buy two more. At the same time, the US and the UK will work together to design and build AUKUS-class submarines. The Virginia class submarine weighs more than 10,200 tonnes and is powered by a nuclear reactor that uses enriched uranium from weapons that is 97% of its fuel.
Even though the decision to get nuclear attack submarines may take some time to go through the proper channels, India is expected to lease one nuclear attack submarine from Russia in 2025 to replace the leased INS Chakra. This deal was made a long time before the war in Ukraine, and India paid on time.
India needs to improve its sea-based deterrence because the Chinese Navy is growing quickly and already has eight Jin-class nuclear ballistic missile submarines and 12 Shang and Han class nuclear attack submarines. With two aircraft carriers in use by the PLA Navy and a third, the Fujian, about to be launched, it’s only a matter of time before Chinese carrier strike forces start patrolling the Indo-Pacific and use gunboat diplomacy in the area.