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Sub-Standard: India Struggling to Make French Scorpenes Seaworthy

© AFP 2021 / MYCHELE DANIAUScorpene-class diesel submarine. File photo
Scorpene-class diesel submarine. File photo - Sputnik International
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Delays in the development of indigenous AIP and an inability to find a main weapon has left Indian Navy’s scorpene class submarines struggling.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — India’s scorpene class submarine project has been left high and dry due to delays in the development of indigenous vital components of the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.

"We will do it as a retrofit," says Vice Admiral G S Pabby, Controller of Warship Production and Acquisition, Indian Navy.

Scorpene-class diesel submarine. File photo - Sputnik International
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This could be termed as a setback for Indian Navy as earlier it had planned to equip two of six scorpene class submarine with AIP and the remaining four would be conventional submarines. Air independent propulsion systems are an expensive item which help the sub to remain under water for longer.

This can be retrofitted into old ships to enhance the survivability of the submarines. It uses a limited amount of stored liquid gas which ultimately is used to charge the sub's battery, increasing the time they can spend down below. Otherwise, submarines have to come back to surface to charge their batteries.

The Indian government has also not been unable to find a heavyweight torpedo for the submarine. Manohar Parrikar, India’s Minister of Defense had directed officials to search for an alternative to the Black Shark Torpedoes in May this year due to the manufacturers’ parent company's involvement in the 556 million euro VVIP AgustaWestland Helicopter bribery case. Black Shark Torpedoes were to be an essential part and primary weapon of India's six new scorpene submarines.

India is building six scorpene class submarines at cost of $3.5 billion under Project 75 which is already delayed by four years.

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