Tag Archives: India

Latest – Five bodies found in sunk submarine, survivors unlikely

Hopes of miracle fade, 4 bodies pulled out of INS Sindhurakshak

Hopes of miracle fade, 4 bodies pulled out of INS Sindhurakshak
The “severely disfigured” bodies of five sailors were recovered Friday from the submarine which sank here Wednesday with 18 men. The navy declared that finding any survivor was unlikely.

The five bodies were found by naval divers from the 2,300 tonne INS Sindhurakshak, which was recently refurbished in Russia and which suffered explosions and fire as it went down after Tuesday midnight.

“Efforts to trace and retrieve the other 13 bodies of sailors are underway on a war footing and we are hopeful of further recoveries by late this evening,” an official said.

These five were among the 15 sailors and three officers who got trapped in the submarine berthed at the Mumbai dock once disaster struck. Eight of the sailors were married.

The bodies were sent to the government-run Sir JJ Hospital for autopsy, DNA and other tests to ascertain their identity.

The search operation has slowed down as only one diver can work at a time owing to the cramped space inside the submarine.

Also, all equipment in the deep sea fighter vessel has shifted from theiroriginal location.

The navy said “the state of (the bodies) and conditions within the submarine leads to the firm conclusion that finding any surviving personnel is unlikely.

“The damage and destruction within the submarine around the control room area indicates that the feasibility of locating bodies of personnel in the forward part of the submarine is also very remote as the explosion and very high temperatures, which melted steel within, would have incinerated the bodies too,” the statement added.

The bodies extricated from the submarine “are severely disfigured and not identifiable due to severe burns”, the navy said, adding they have been sent to INHS Asvini, the naval hospital, for possible DNA identification.

This “is likely to take some more time”. It said the boiling waters inside the submarine prevented any entry till Wednesday noon.

“Access to the inner compartments of the submarine was made almost impossible due to jammed doors and hatches, distorted ladders, oily and muddy waters inside the submerged submarine resulting in total darkness and nil visibility … even with high-power underwater lamps.

“Distorted and twisted metal within very restricted space due extensive internal damage caused by the explosion further worsened conditions for the divers.

“This resulted in very slow and laboured progress,” the statement said.

After hours of “continuous diving effort in these conditions”, navy divers finally reached the second compartment behind the conning tower early Friday.

The navy said it was concentrating on reaching the interiors of the submarine to “locate and extricate any remaining bodies that may still be trapped within”.

“Salvage of the submarine would only be attempted thereafter for which many alternatives including deploying professional salvers are also being considered.

“However, presently, gaining access to the submarine and locating bodies is the top priority,” the navy said.

The heat of the explosion had melted parts of the internal hull deforming the submarine hatches, preventing access to different compartments.

Heavy duty pumps were used to pump out the seawater from the submarine.

The families of the 18 personnel were being provided regular updates.

The navy feels that some of the armaments inside the deep sea fighter vessel, stored on the rear side may be recovered undamaged as the flames did not completely gut that portion of the submarine.

Source – Times of India

Indian submarine hit by explosion at Mumbai port

At least 18 sailors are feared to be trapped on board an Indian submarine that caught fire after an explosion in a Mumbai dockyard, officials say.

The blast occurred shortly after midnight and it took fire-fighters several hours to douse the blaze.

Officials say the diesel-powered vessel was badly damaged and remains partly submerged at its berth.

Many sailors managed to jump to safety. Rescue teams are on scene and some of the injured were taken to hospital.

It is unclear exactly what caused the explosion on the INS Sindhurakshak but dramatic images on Indian television appear to show a large fireball illuminating the sky. Smoke from the blaze could be seen in many parts of the city.

A naval inquiry has been set up to look into the causes of the incident, but officials told the BBC they suspect it to be the result of an on-board error and not an act involving any outside agency.

Russian-built vessel

“There are some people who are trapped on board, we are in the process of trying to rescue them, we suspect it to be in the range of 18,” Navy spokesman PVS Satish was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying.

“We will not give up until we get to them,” he added.

INS Sindhurakshak timeline

  • 1997: INS Sindhurakshak procured by Indian navy, one of the 10 vessels in the Kilo-class submarines bought from Russia between 1986-2000
  • February 2010: A fire that broke out in its battery compartment kills one sailor
  • August 2010: Submarine sent for re-fit to equip it with cruise missile systems
  • June 2012: Refit completed with refurbished hull and 10 years added to its 25-year service life
  • October 20102: Sea trials begin for submarine
  • 14 August 2013: Submarine hit by explosion and fire with sailors feared trapped inside

Officials also told the AFP news agency that divers had been deployed when the flames were put out and that they were hunting for the men on board.

The INS Sindhurakshak is said to be one of the 10 Kilo-class submarines bought from Russia between 1986 and 2000. It is equipped with Russian Club-S cruise missile system.

The vessel, which is powered by diesel and electricity, returned from Russia last year after undergoing an upgrade and sea trials began last October, reports said.

In February 2010, a sailor on board the submarine was killed by a fire that broke out in the battery compartment while the submarine was docked at the Vishakhapatnam naval base – it was later that year that it was sent to Russia for the refit.

This explosion comes just days after India’s navy launched its first home-built aircraft carrier, hailed by officials as a “crowning glory”.

Last year, India bought a Russian Nerpa nuclear submarine for its navy on a 10-year lease from Russia at cost of nearly $1bn (£645m), making it part of a select group of nations to operate nuclear-powered submarines.

India and Russia are long-time allies and Russia supplies about 70% of India’s military hardware.

Source – BBC News

Reactor of India’s first nuclear submarine INS Arihant goes ‘critical’

New Delhi: In a major step towards completing its nuclear triad, India activated the atomic reactor on board the indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant, paving the way for its operational deployment by the Navy.

“The nuclear reactor on board the INS Arihant has been made critical (activated) last night,” sources said on the development of the nuclear submarine.

Nuclear triad is the ability to fire nuclear-tipped missiles from land, air and sea.

After the nuclear reactor is activated, the agencies concerned can work towards readying the warship for operational deployments soon.

INS Arihant has been undergoing trials at Navy’s key submarine base in Vishakhapatnam and would be launched for sea trials soon since the nuclear reactor has gone critical.

The DRDO has also readied a medium-range nuclear missile BO-5 for being deployed on the Arihant and its last developmental trial was held on January 27 off the coast of Vishakhapatnam.

The nuclear submarine will help India achieve the capability of going into high seas without the need to surface the vessel for long durations.

Conventional diesel-electric submarines have to come up on surface at regular intervals for charging the cells of the vessel.

India is the only nation in the Indian Ocean region to have a nuclear submarine and the sixth in the world to have the capability to design and construct a nuclear submarine

The orange beacon atop the conning tower came to life on July 26, 2009, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s wife Gursharan Kaur had pressed the button to symbolise the launching of the vessel into water.

In the middle of the body – comprising an outer hull through which the water goes in and an inner pressurised hull – on the starboard side are two rectangular vents, meant to take in water when the vessel dives into the sea. It is like a “cocoon within a cocoon”, an official had explained.

INS Arihant is longer than any of the submarine in the Indian Navy’s fleet so far. A nuclear submarine is powered by a nuclear reactor, which generates tremendous heat driving a steam turbine. It has unlimited underwater endurance and speed twice that of its conventional counterparts.

The submarine can carry 12 nuclear missiles K-15. Keeping in line with its “no first use policy”, the submarine will help India in developing a “credible second strike capability” in case of nuclear attack, said officials.

The Indian Navy has been operating conventional diesel-electric submarines, which have to surface to charge their batteries.

Source – Zee News

Indian submarine in distress gets Egyptian help

India’s submarine INS Sindhurakshak received help from Egyptian Navy when it encountered extreme bad weather and rough sea on its way back home after mid-life up-gradation in Russia.
The Sindhurakshak, a Russian Kilo Class submarine built in 1997 at Admiralteiskie Verfi shipyard in St Petersburg, underwent mid-life up-gradation.

The Egyptian Navy towed the submarine to Port Said along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in March, sources said.
Indian submarine in distress gets Egyptian help

Welcoming the gesture, Indian ambassador to Egypt Navdeep Suri praised the professional handling by the Egyptian Navy.
Indian submarine in distress gets Egyptian helpIn thank you cable to Egypt’s Defence and Military Production Minister Gen Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, Suri said, “(Egyptian) Naval troops towed the submarine in a professional way to a safe Egyptian port”, the official MENA news agency reported.

Source – Zee News

India – Nuclear submarine INS Arihant nuke reactor to be activated in 2-3 weeks

India’s first home-built nuclear submarine, capable of firing ballistic missiles, will soon activate its nuke reactor

Moving towards completing its nuclear triad, India will activate the atomic reactor on-board the indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant in the “next two to three weeks” paving way for its operational deployment by the Navy soon.

“The nuclear reactor on-board the INS Arihant would be made critical (activated) in next two to three weeks,” DRDO chief V K Saraswat said.

Nuclear triad is the ability to fire nuclear-tipped missiles from land, air and sea. He said after the nuclear reactor is activated, the agencies concerned can work towards readying the warship for operational deployments soon. INS Arihant has been undergoing trials at Navy’s key submarine base in Vishakhapatnam and would be launched for sea trials after the nuclear reactor goes critical.

The DRDO has also readied a medium-range nuclear missile BO-5 for being deployed on the Arihant and its last developmental trial was held on January 27 off the coast of Vishakhapatnam. The nuclear submarine will help India achieve the capability of going into high seas without the need to surface the vessel for long durations. Conventional diesel-electric submarines have to come up on surface at regular intervals for charging the cells of the vessel.

Source – India.Com

India – State gets ‘retired’ Navy submarine

INS Vagli, the oldest operational submarine of the Indian Navy, was handed over to the State government on Wednesday to be converted into a maritime museum that will be established at Mamallapuram.

Vagli, decommissioned in Visakhapatnam on December 2010, arrived here on March 25. It was handed over to State Finance Minister O Paneerselvam and Tourism Minister P Chendur Pandian by Vice-Admiral Anil K Chopra, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command.

The submarine is likely to be stationed in harbour till September before being transferred for installation on about 30 acres of land abutting the beach near the Shore Temple, a UNESCO world heritage site. Chopra said that the submarine was towed to Chennai port free of cost. Paneerselvam thanked the vice admiral and sought his help in installing the submarine on at the selected site.

The ship, which will be converted into a museum,  will have food courts, audio-visual studio, souvenir shops and an aquarium. It will be planned and executed in a phased manner using the ‘build-own-operate-transfer’ model.

The Vagli, a Type 641B Foxtrot-class submarine, was commissioned by then Lieutenant Commander Lalit Talwar on August 10, 1974 at Riga, Latvia, in the erstwhile Soviet Union. It had completed 36 years of dedicated service under 23 commanding officers.

INS Vagli, the oldest operational submarine of the Indian Navy undertook her last dive. The submarine is scheduled to be decommissioned in December after 36 glorious years of service. Vice Admiral Anup Singh, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command along with other senior officers sailed on the submarine to mark the historic occasion. In his message on the occasion, the Flag Officer commended the crew for their professionalism and enthusiasm and said that the submarine had sailed into history with pride and honour.
The submarine, presently commanded by Cdr AA Kapre, is the last of the Foxtrot class of submarines which were built in the erstwhile USSR. She was commissioned  on August 10, 1974 at Riga and since then has operated extensively on both the coasts. The submarine has participated in large number of exercises with ships and aircraft including recently concluded bilateral exercise with the Singapore Navy.
-Cdr TLP Babu from Visakhapatnam
Source – Vagli Last Dive

India – Defence ministry sits on Navy request for six submarines

The navy is still awaiting defence ministry’s  approval for inviting bids for the new line of six submarines despite  indications that all the stumbling blocks in the way of the crucial project have  been cleared.

Navy chief admiral DK Joshi had even  announced in December last year that the request for proposal (RFP) for the  submarines were on the way “very soon”.

Sources said the ground work has been  completed by the navy, and it has sent the proposal to the defence ministry for  final approval.

The first submarine is expected to be ready in mid-2015 and the last in 2018The first submarine is expected to be ready in mid-2015  and the last in 2018

The project, named 75-India, is crucial to  augment navy’s under water capabilities which has taken a hit because of delays  in finding replacement for the existing fleet of ageing German and Russian  submarines.

It was expected that the RFP would now be  issued only in the next financial year beginning next month.

The navy had shown sense of urgency in  getting necessary approvals as the massive projects needs to get underway  without further delays.

The navy is looking to have Air Independent  Propulsion (AIP) system in the new line of submarines, which will provide the  capability to sustain under water longer decreasing the possibilities of  detection.

The AIP systems have become crucial feature  of conventional diesel electric submarines but at the moment, Indian fleet lacks  the capability.

Even the under construction French Scorpene  submarines would not have this feature.

The modalities for the construction of the  new line were debated upon.

It was felt that two submarines should be  purchased directly from a foreign vendor while the two would be constructed at  Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) in Vishakhapatnam and the remaining at Mazgaon  Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai.

It was argued that the HSL had no experience  of building submarines while MDL has the capability because of the ongoing  construction of French Scorpene submarines in the shipyard.

The distribution of work among the shipyards  for the new line has been the biggest point of contention so far.

Navy chief’s announcement about the RFP being  floated very soon had indicated that issue had been sorted out.

Source – Mail online India

India – Submarine import trap


The Indian Navy needs to  spearhead the amalgamation of nuclear and  conventional submarine design and manufacturing capabilities

The Indian Navy has quietly and without fuss built up a great reputation for itself as a strategic-minded service. Its plans for distant defence are the best articulated, and its procurement of naval hardware mission-appropriate, reason why the government has accorded it the pivotal role in the strategic defence of the country.

As commendable is the Navy’s role in driving the country’s agenda for self-sufficiency in armaments in the teeth of sustained efforts over the years by the bumbling Indian government with the defence ministry and its department of defence production (DPP) to undermine it.

The DPP conceives its remit as only ensuring custom for defence public sector units while trying to trip up the private sector whose built-up capacity and capability can more quickly and substantively attain for the country the goal of self-reliance, which has so far only remained rhetoric. The Navy is the only service to have had a main weapon design directorate, generating designs for 43 of the 45 warships under construction in the country.

The Navy, moreover, has prevented indigenous projects such as the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft programme from sinking, by investing in the development of a navalised variant, managing a technical consultancy with US Navy’s aviation experts to iron out design kinks and shepherding this aircraft to the prototype stage. But the singular success story and its greatest accomplishment is the strategic submarine project. Starting from scratch, it has got to a point where the basic Russian Charlie-II class nuclear-powered ballistic missile firing submarine (SSBN) design has been enhanced, which changes will be reflected in the second and third units of the Arihant-class boats, and a nuclear-powered hunter-killer submarine (SSN) as follow-on to the Akula-II class boat (INS Chakra) on lease from Russia, is in the works. Continue reading

India’s nuclear subs – The Curse Continues

January 5, 2013: The Indian Navy made public its efforts to get critical (but unnamed) replacement parts for the nuclear submarine (INS Chakra) it received from Russia last January. India has often had problems getting parts or other forms of service for Russian weapons. The Indians are no longer inclined to play nice with the Russians on these matters. President Putin of Russia promised to sort this out quickly.

INS Chakra was formally the Nerpa, a Russian Akula II class submarine that was supposed to be turned over to India (which is leasing it) three years ago. The main reason for the delay was a safety issue. Four years ago, during sea trials, there was an equipment failure that killed 20 sailors and shipyard workers aboard the Nerpa. This delayed sea trials for many months and the Russians found more items that needed attention. These additional inspections and repairs continued until quite recently. India is paying $90 million a year for ten years to lease the Nerpa, an 8,100 ton Russian sub that was then renamed INS Chakra (the same name used by the Charlie class Russian sub India leased from 1988-91) by the Indians.

There have been many reasons for getting this sub from Russia. Back in 2010 the Indian crew, after more than a year of training, found that they were not fully prepared to take over the sub. The crew required another six months of training. The Russians were being blamed, partly because they were in charge of the training and partly because they recently made a lot of internal changes to the Nerpa. But Indians also admit that all their veteran nuclear submarine sailors (who manned a leased Russian nuclear sub from 1988-91) were retired and the difficulties of learning how to run a nuclear boat were underestimated.

The Nerpa was built for this Indian deal and finally completed its sea trials and was accepted into Russian service in late 2009. India was supposed to take possession in May 2010, but there were more delays, mainly because of the accidental activation of the fire extinguisher system and death of twenty on board. There were 208 people aboard the sub at the time, most of them navy and shipyard personnel there to closely monitor all aspects of the sub as it made its first dives and other maneuvers. The source of the fatal accident was poor design and construction of the safety systems. This accident led to sailors and shipyard technicians being fearful of going to sea on the boat. So the sea trials were delayed, even after repairs were made.

The post-accident modifications on the Nerpa cost $65 million. The lease arrangement has India paying $178,000 a day, for ten years, for use of the sub. The 7,000 ton Akula II requires a crew of 73 highly trained sailors. Over a hundred Indian sailors have undergone training to run the boat.

It was Indian money that enabled Russia to complete construction on at least two Akulas. These boats were less than half finished at the end of the Cold War. This was another aftereffect of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Several major shipbuilding projects were basically put on hold (which still cost a lot of money), in the hopes that something would turn up. In this case, it was Indians with lots of cash.

Traditionally, when a new ship loses a lot of people during sea trials it is regarded as “cursed” and unlucky. Sailors can be superstitious, especially when there are dead bodies involved. It’s not known if India will have any problems with this.

India has designed and built its own nuclear sub but the first one is basically a development craft, and mass production of Indian designed nuclear subs is still 5-10 years away. The unlucky Russian sub will enable India to train more nuclear sub sailors in the meantime.

Source – Strategy Page

India’s Nuclear Submarine Programme – Video Clip

India’s Nuclear Submarine Programme – Video Clip

Source – Youtube