Submarines are important for the Navy because they help a nation to carry out sub-surface wars most effectively. The submarine arm of the Indian Navy has been there for more than 50 years. The first Indian Submarine was INS Kalvari, which was inducted in the Indian Navy fleet back on December 8, 1967, under Cdr KS Subramanian. With passage of time, Indian Navy has expanded its sub-surface fleet, which now includes Nuclear-powered submarines and Diesel-electric submarines (including both Conventional and Ballistic Missile submarines). The recent submarine launched by the Indian Navy is the third Scorpene class submarine Karanj. On the occasion of the launch in early-2019, Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said that it will go through rigorous tests for the coming 1-year before being commissioned.
List of Submarines in Indian Navy
There are currently 2 nuclear-powered submarines and 14 Diesel-electric submarines in service. While 1 Nuclear submarine and 2 Diesel-electric submarines are undergoing sea trials, 2 Nuclear-powered and 3 Diesel-electric submarines are under construction. Till now, ten submarines have been decommissioned, out of which one was Nuclear-powered Attack submarine and nine Diesel-electric submarines.
List of Active (or Commissioned) Submarines in the Indian Navy
There are 2 active Nuclear-powered submarines:
1. INS Chakra (S71):
It is a Chakra (Akula II) class attack submarine that has been leased from Russia under a 10-year lease. This nuclear power submarine (having 12,770 tonnes vessel) was commissioned on April 4 at a ceremony in Visakhapatnam.
2. INS Arihant (SSBN 80):
This is a nuclear-powered Ballistic missile submarine that comes with a 6,000 tonnes vessel. It belongs to the Arihant class submarine that was commissioned in August 2016.
There are 14 active Diesel-electric submarines:
1. INS Shishumar (S44):
Indian Navy commissioned INS Shishumar diesel-electric submarine on September 22, 1986. This Shishumar class attack submarine comes with a 1,850 tonnes lead vessel and is scheduled for upgrades by 2020-21.
2. INS Shankush (S45):
This is yet another Shishumar class attack submarine that is scheduled for upgrades by 2020-21. S45 also comes with a 1,850 tonnes submerged displacement vessel.
3. INS Shalki (S46):
It was the first ever submarine built in India. This Shishumar-class Indian Navy submarine was commissioned on February 7, 1992. This 1,850 tonnes submerged displacement vessel is armed with 14 × AEG-SUT Mod 1 wire-guided active/passive torpedoes and 24 × external strap-on mines.
4. INS Shankul (S44):
INS Shankul diesel-electric submarine also belongs to the Shishumar-class and was the second submarine to be built in India. This 1,850 tonnes submerged displacement vessel was commissioned on May 24, 1994.
5. INS Kalvari (S21):
S21 is the first of the 6 Kalvari class submarines available to the Indian Navy. The other five are either undergoing sea trials or are under construction. DCNS or French naval defence and energy company designed this diesel-electric attack submarine and it was manufactured at Mumbai’s Mazagon Dock Limited. This 1,775 tonnes submerged displacement vessel was commissioned on December 14, 2017.
6. INS Sindhughosh (S55):
It belongs to the Sindhughosh class and was commissioned on April 30, 1986, in Latvia’s Riga. This is the first ever Indian Navy submarine that comes with the Klub ZM-54E SS-N-27 antiship cruise missiles (having a range of 220 kilometers). S55 has 3076 tons (submerged displacement) vessel with a maximum 300 meters diving depth.
7. INS Sindhudhvaj (S56):
INS Sindhudhvaj also belongs to the Sindhughosh class and was commissioned on June 12, 1987. It has 3076 tons submerged displacement vessel that has the endurance of up to 45 days with a 52 member crew.
8. INS Sindhuraj (S57):
S57 submarine of the Indian Navy belongs to Sindhughosh-class diesel-electric submarines. It was commissioned on October 20, 1987. INS Sindhuraj is currently undergoing mid-life refit.
9. INS Sindhuvir (S58):
This diesel-electric submarine belongs to the Sindhughosh-class. It was commissioned on August 26, 1988. INS Sindhuvir comes with 3076 tons submerged displacement vessel. Its maximum and operational depths are 300 meters and 240 meters respectively.
10. INS Sindhuratna (S59):
This Sindhughosh-class diesel-electric submarine was commissioned on December 22, 1988. It is equipped with armaments such as 9M36 Strela-3 (SA-N-8) SAM launcher Klub-S (3M-54E) ASCM, TEST 71/76 anti-submarine, active-passive homing torpedo, Type 53-65 passive wake homing torpedo, and 24 DM-1 mines in lieu of torpedo tube.
11. INS Sindhukesari (S60):
INS Sindhukesari is still active in service and was commissioned on February 16, 1989. S60 is currently undergoing mid-life refit.
12. INS Sindhukirti (S61):
S61 is Indian Navy’s 7th Sindhughosh-class submarine. It was commissioned on January 4, 1990. It went on a medium refit on June 2006 (at Visakhapatnam’s Hindustan Shipyard) and was recommissioned on May 23, 2015. INS Sindhukirti comes with a 3,100 tons (3,400 short tons) submerged displacement vessel with 45-days endurance.
13. INS Sindhuvijay (S62):
It is Indian Navy’s Sindhughosh-class diesel-electric submarine that was commissioned on March 8, 1991. This submarine comes with a 3076 tons submerged displacement vessel having operational and maximum depths of 240 meter and 300 meter respectively.
14. INS Sindhurashtra (S65):
This Indian Navy submarine belongs to the Sindhughosh-class diesel-electric category. S65 was commissioned on July 19, 2000 and it is still active in service.
Indian Navy Submarines Undergoing Sea Trials
Currently, there are three Indian Navy submarines that are undergoing sea trials. While one of them is a nuclear submarine, the other two are diesel-electric submarines.
It is a Arihant class Ballistic missile submarine that was launched on November 19, 2017. It is estimated to be commissioned in 2019. INS Arighat is built at Visakhapatnam’s Shipbuilding Centre (SBC). Reports say this submarine will have a more powerful reactor and twice as many missile hatches as INS Arihant.
The two diesel-electric submarines that are currently undergoing sea trials are INS Khanderi and INS Karanj. Both are Kalvari class attack submarines that are designed by French naval defence and energy group DCNS at Mumbai’s Mazagon Dock Limited.
Indian Navy Submarines Under Construction
Currently, 5 Indian Navy submarines are under construction. While two are nuclear-powered, three are diesel-electric submarines. The two under-construction nuclear submarines are S 75 and S 76. Both of them are Arihant class Ballistic missile submarines. The three other under-construction diesel-electric submarines are INS Vela (S 53), INS Vagir (S 54), and INS Vagsheer (S 55). All of them are Kalvari class attack submarines.
Indian Navy Decommissioned Submarines
Till now ten Indian Navy submarines have been decommissioned. While 1 is Nuclear-powered Attack submarine, the others are Diesel-electric submarines. The nuclear-powered attack submarine decommissioned by the Indian Navy is INS Chakra (K-43). It is a Charlie class submarine that was decommissioned in January 1991.
The 9 diesel-electric submarines that were decommissioned by the Indian Navy are INS Kalvari (S23), INS Khanderi (S22), INS Karanj (S21), INS Kursura (S20), INS Vela (S40), INS Vagir (S41), INS Vagli (S42), INS Vagsheer (S43), and INS Sindhurakshak (S63).