Importance of Procuring New Scorpene Class Submarines for India’s Navy

Amelia Earhart
4 Min Read

The Defence Acquisition Council, India’s apex decision-making body for military equipment acquisition, has approved the purchase of three additional Scorpene submarines for the Indian Navy. This crucial decision aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France, where the announcement of the submarine procurement is expected. The Scorpene submarines, built by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in Mumbai, will reinforce India’s submarine fleet, address delays in previous projects, and strengthen national defense capabilities.

Why are the additional Scorpene submarines necessary? The acquisition of three more Scorpene submarines has become imperative due to the delayed delivery of submarines under Project 75 and the need to augment India’s existing submarine fleet. The Indian Navy currently operates 16 conventional submarines, including seven Sindhughosh class, four Shishumar class, and five Kalvari class submarines. However, to effectively carry out various naval operations, the Navy requires a minimum of 18 submarines. Additionally, approximately 30% of the submarines are typically undergoing refits at any given time, further reducing the number of operational submarines. The upcoming refits of the Kalvari-class submarines further emphasize the need for additional submarines.

Capabilities of the Scorpene submarines: The Scorpene submarines are conventional attack submarines designed to engage and neutralize enemy naval vessels. Equipped with an array of torpedoes, missiles, and surveillance systems, these submarines possess formidable offensive and defensive capabilities. With a length of around 220 feet and a height of approximately 40 feet, they can achieve speeds of 11 knots (20 km/h) when surfaced and 20 knots (37 km/h) when submerged. Powered by a diesel-electric propulsion system, they have an endurance of approximately 50 days, enabling extended operational periods. However, periodic surfacing is necessary to recharge their electric batteries using the diesel engine.

Comparison with nuclear submarines: While nuclear submarines offer theoretically unlimited endurance and higher speeds, they come with significant cost and operational complexity. Diesel-electric submarines, like the Scorpene class, have witnessed notable advancements in range and stealth, making them formidable assets. Equipped with air independent propulsion (AIP) systems, these submarines operate silently on batteries, enhancing their stealth capabilities. The Indian Navy plans to retrofit all Scorpene submarines with AIP systems from 2024, further improving their endurance and stealth.

Importance of the procurement: The procurement of additional Scorpene submarines, with increased indigenous content, serves multiple crucial purposes. Firstly, it ensures the Navy maintains the required force levels and operational readiness. Secondly, it generates significant employment opportunities within the domestic sector. Additionally, this procurement will enhance the capabilities and expertise of MDL in submarine construction, strengthening India’s defense-industrial base.

Conclusion: The decision to acquire three more Scorpene class submarines for the Indian Navy is a vital step towards bolstering national security and addressing the existing gaps in the submarine fleet. These submarines, renowned for their advanced capabilities and stealth, will enhance the Navy’s operational readiness and ensure the country’s maritime defense remains robust. Furthermore, the procurement will contribute to indigenous defense production and provide substantial employment opportunities. Overall, the addition of these submarines will reinforce India’s naval capabilities and strengthen its position in the Indian Ocean region.

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Amelia Earhart, an accomplished news reporter, and writer, brings a flair for storytelling and sharp journalistic insight to her work. As a valued contributor to, she delivers timely news and analysis on various industries. Amelia's dedication to accuracy and her adventurous spirit drive her to uncover impactful stories, leaving a lasting impression on her readers. With years of experience in journalism, she remains committed to journalistic integrity, informing and inspiring a wide audience in the dynamic world of media.
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