The Indian Navy commissioned the fifth diesel-electric Kalvari-class submarine Vagir on 23 January at the Naval Dockyard in Mumba in the presence of Admiral R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS). It is among the six submarines being built by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in collaboration with the French Naval Group under Project 75. Four of these submarines have already been commissioned into the Navy, and a sixth will be commissioned next year.
“The induction of Vagir is another step towards the Indian Navy consolidating its position as a builder’s Navy, as it also reflects MDL’s capabilities as a premier ship and submarine building yard”, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a press release. INS Vagir would form part of the Western Naval Command’s Submarine fleet and another potent part of the Command’s arsenal.
Vagir was launched on 12 November 2020 under Project 75 (P75) and was delivered to Indian Navy on 20 December last year post completion of sea trials. Vagir has the distinction of having the lowest build time among all indigenously manufactured submarines to date, the Indian Navy said.
“The Scorpene submarines are extremely potent platforms; they have advanced stealth features and are also equipped with long-range guided torpedoes and anti-ship missiles. These submarines have a state-of-the-art SONAR suite and sensor suite permitting outstanding operational capabilities.” The Indian Navy informed.
Speaking on the occasion, CNS stated that INS Vagir would give a significant fillip to the Indian Navy’s operational might and serve as a potent deterrent for any adversary. He also highlighted that Vagir is the third submarine inducted into the Navy in a short span of 24 months. “This underscores the coming of age of India’s shipbuilding industry and the maturing of our defence ecosystem. It is also a shining testimony to the expertise and experience of our shipyards to construct complex and complicated platforms. It serves to reinforce Indian Navy’s unequivocal commitment and steadfast resolve to be a fully ‘AatmaNirbhar’ force by 2047,” Navy Chief said.
The latest submarine gets its name from the erstwhile Vagir, a submarine which served the Navy between 1973 and 2001 and undertook numerous operational missions. The construction of the new Vagir began in 2009, and it took its maiden sea sortie in February last year. The submarines in the current Kalvari-class take their names from erstwhile decommissioned classes of submarines named Kalvari, which included Kalvari, Khanderi, Karanj and Vela classes – comprising Vela, Vagir, Vagshir. The now-decommissioned Kalvari and Vela classes were one of the earliest submarines in the post-independence Indian Navy, which belonged to Soviet origin Foxtrot class of vessels.
The design of the Kalvari-class of submarines is based on the Scorpene class of submarines designed and developed by the French defence major Naval Group. This class of submarines have diesel-electric transmission systems, and are primarily attack submarines or ‘hunter-killers’ which implies that they are designed to target and sink adversary naval vessels.