Navy may Extend Service Life of Six Submarines, Says Antony
Defence Minister A K Antony on Monday told the Lok Sabha that the Centre was examining a Navy proposal to extend the service life of six of the 13 conventional submarines, even as it was processing a tender to select an agency for salvaging the INS Sindhurakshak that sunk in the Mumbai naval dockyard on August 14.
“The government had approved a submarine-building plan, which is being progressed. Further, a proposal for extending the service life of six submarines is also being examined,” Antony said in a written reply.
In late 1990s, India approved a 30-year plan to build 24 diesel-electric submarines to augment its submarine fleet strength. The first six submarines from Scorpene are under construction at the Mumbai-based Mazagon Docks, though there is a three-year delay in the delivery of the first submarine.
The government is processing a tender for the second line of six submarines, which too is delayed by two years now.
The Navy has proposed life extension for six Russian-built Kilo-class submarines. The INS Sindhurakshak had just returned from Russia after a refit programme when it suffered an internal explosion and sank.
On the salvage operation plans, Antony said the Board of Inquiry constituted to investigate the incident would submit its report to the Western Naval Command headquarters, following the salvation of the submarine and investigation of the vessel.
The Navy has carried out a safety audit of all its existing procedures for the storage and handling of weapons and damage-control procedures on board all of the 13 submarines and found them satisfactory.