Russia has communicated an offer of selling three old Kilo-class hulls for the Indian Navy to tide over its shortfall of conventional submarines. The $1.8 billion “three plus three” arrangement bundles refits of three of India’s Kilo-class submarines with an additional three old Russian navy Kilo-class hulls.
The offer was to have been raised at the annual meeting of the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Technical Commission (IRIGTC) to be held in Goa this month but is postponed due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Russia's proposal seems to have found favour with the Indian Navy’s submarine arm. (File photo of Navy’s Scorpene submarine INS Kalvari: Reuters)
Both countries are in talks to buy 21 mothballed MiG-29 fighter aircraft to plug the IAF’s declining force levels. The Russian submarine offer follows a similar outline. The Indian Navy has 14 submarines against a projected requirement of 24 units. 12 of those submarines are at least 30 years old approaching the end of their lives. Four have been given ‘second refits’ — life extensions that have slapped a decade onto their hulls. Three Kilos are slated to go in for medium refits either in a Russian or an Indian shipyard.
If accepted, the proposal could see the Navy get six refurbished Kilo-class submarines in one year intervals from the third year onwards. The proposal seems to have found favour in the Indian navy’s submarine arm which doesn’t see any large force accretions after four French-designed Scorpene-class submarines are delivered by Mazagon Docks Ltd by 2023. The Project 75 India proposal to build 6 advanced conventional submarines won’t deliver units until the 2030s.
The Kilo class is the most numerous submarine class operated by the Navy. Its fleet of ten units is now eightone was lost in an accident in 2013 and another gifted to Myanmar last year. The Russian Navy has three Kilo-class hulls lying in Murmansk and in the Black Sea Fleet which, at 30 years, are roughly the same vintage as the Indian Navy Kilos. Additional units of the type will not necessitate changes in the training, spares and other infrastructure.
(Courtesy of Mail Today)