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Submarine INS Vela commissioned; Navy chief calls it potent platform for entire spectrum of ops

Indian Naval officers during the commissioning ceremony of Kalvari-class submarine 'INS Vela' at Naval Dockyard in Mumbai on Thursday. Photo: PTI

MUMBAI (PTI): Adding teeth to India's naval prowess, Indian Navy on Thursday commissioned submarine INS Vela in Mumbai, with the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh calling it a "potent platform" with an ability to undertake the entire spectrum of submarine operations.

This is the fourth of the six submarines the Indian Navy is inducting under the Kalvari class submarine Project 75.

This is also the second major induction in the Indian Navy in less than a week. On November 21, the Navy commissioned warship INS Visakhapatnam.

Speaking at the event of commissioning the submarine, the Navy Chief said Project 75 will transform Indian Navy's war-fighting in the underwater domain in the years to come.

"INS Vela is a potent platform with an ability to undertake the entire spectrum of submarine operations. And given today's dynamic and complex security situation, Vela's capability and firepower will play a crucial role in Navy's ability to protect, promote and preserve India's maritime interest across the seascape of the Indian Ocean Region while acting as a clear deterrent to our adversaries," Singh said.

The Scorpene class submarines are being built in India by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) Mumbai, in collaboration with M/s Naval Group, France.

Three submarines under Project 75 – INS Kalvari, INS Khanderi, INS Karanj – have already been commissioned.

INS Vela would form a part of the Western Naval Command's Submarine fleet and would be another potent part of its arsenal, the Navy said.

Crew of the erstwhile 'Vela', a Russian origin Foxtrot class submarine, which was decommissioned in 2009, were also present amongst the guests on this occasion.

These Scorpene submarines are extremely potent platforms, and they have advanced stealth features and are also equipped with both long range guided torpedoes as well as anti-ship missiles, it added.

These submarines have a state-of-the-art SONAR and sensor suite permitting outstanding operational capabilities. They also have an advanced Permanent Magnetic Synchronous motor (PERMASYN) as its propulsion motor.

INS Vela is fitted with advanced weapons and sensors. All of these are integrated into the Submarine Tactical Integrated Combat System known as SUBTICS, the Navy said.

Once a target is classified, the submarine may choose to engage it using either her sea skimming missiles also known as Flying Fish or heavy weight wire – guided torpedoes, it added.

The submarine's mascot is the Sub-ray, which is an amalgamation of the submarine and the stingray.

The stingray is known for stealth, aggression and offensive power. Its flat body allows it to sit on the bottom of the ocean, camouflage itself to predators swimming above as it lurks for its prey underneath.

Singh said that INS Vela showcases India's notable strides in indigenous submarine construction as also the journey from being a "buyers navy to a builders navy".

While Project 75 has been an important step in enhancing the Navy's capability, Singh said it is simultaneously progressing with Project 75 India under a Strategic Partnership model.

With this project, India envisions achieving complete self-reliance in submarine construction and life cycle substance.

The Project 75 India aims to develop all facets of the submarine construction ecosystem within the nation and also involves transfer of several niche technologies.

In June, the Defence Acquisition Council, headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, approved issue of RFP for construction of six conventional submarines under Project P 75 (I) under the “Strategic Partnership” (SP) model.

This project envisages indigenous construction of six conventional submarines equipped with state-of-the-art Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system at an estimated cost of Rs 43,000 crore.

The Navy Chief said the project would significantly enhance India's ability to work with cutting-edge defence manufacturing technologies with the implications not only for the Navy but also for the nation.

INS Vela carries forward the legacy of her namesake the Foxtrot type submarine acquired from Soviet Russia in 1973 and served the Navy for 37 years. Rear Admiral (retd) JMS Sodhi, the Commissioning Commanding Officer of the earlier INS Vela, was also present at the event.

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