NEW DELHI: In a bid towards building a formidable blue-water Navy for the future, the Modi government in India has approved the construction of six nuclear-powered submarines and seven stealth frigates, which together will cost about Rs1 lakh crore (INR), The Times of India reports.
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has taken these decisions with “critical necessity” for India to bolster its “overall deterrence capability” in the Indian Ocean region, particularly its primary area of strategic interest stretching from the Persian Gulf to Malacca Strait.
Under the over Rs 50,000 crore ‘Project-17A’ for stealth frigates, four will be constructed at Mazagon Docks in Mumbai and three in Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers in Kolkata. “The contract will be inked with MDL and GRSE this month itself, with an initial payment of Rs 4,000 crore,” said a source.
The new multi-mission frigates will be larger, faster and stealthier than the Shivaliks as well as packed with more weapons and sensors to operate in “a multi-threat environment”.
The complex project for the nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs) will take longer.
After the CCS approval, technical parameters or naval staff qualitative requirements (NSQRs) will now be drafted for the over 6,000-tonne submarines.
The SSNs are likely to be constructed at the secretive ship-building centre (SBC) in Vizag, where India’s first three SSBNs (nuclear-powered submarines with nuclear ballistic missiles) are being built to complete the country’s nuclear weapons triad.
Nuclear-powered submarines are much deadlier than diesel-electric submarines since they do not need to surface every few days to get oxygen to recharge their batteries.
“SSNs, which usually carry only conventional missiles, can swiftly and quietly undertake long-range patrols. They can run at high speeds like 30 knots for much longer distances, hunting for targets and gathering intelligence,” said an expert.
Armed with 300km range Klub-S land-attack cruise missiles and advanced torpedoes, INS Chakra can be a potent ‘hunter-killer’ of enemy submarines and warships as well as provide effective protection to a fleet at sea.