Kalvari – India’s First Conventional Submarine in 16 years

Kalvari Submarine

Kalvari Submarine

With Kalvari, India will be launching its first conventional submarine in a 16 year span. The submarine is expected to start with its sea trials from 8 May onwards and will provide the Indian Navy a much-needed boost. In the last few years, the Indian Navy has been making efforts to make sure that it has some edge over Pakistan in terms of underwater warfare and the latest submarine could be seen as a result of that effort. Kalvari also happens to be the first among the six Scorpene-class submarines that India will be building in the foreseeable future. This is being done as part of Project 75 that has seen a fair amount of delay over the years.

Who are building it?

Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) is primarily building the submarines along with DNS, a French organisation.

What tests will it see?

It is expected that in the course of next couple of months the submarine will be subjected to a number of tests.  All the tests will be conducted in a comprehensive manner and will make sure that the submarine has been tested properly so that it satisfies the various expectations from it. Some of the tests are mentioned as below:

  • Sea trials
  • Surface trials
  • Diving trials
  • Weapon trials
  • Noise trials

When will it be commissioned?

It is expected that the submarine will be pressed into action by September end. It is expected that the remaining Scorpene class submarines will be launched in intervals of nine months each. This implies that it will take another three years and nine months for the whole series of submarines to be launched.


INS Kalavari will be running on diesel and electricity. The word Kalavari itself means a tiger shark. At present, however, it is like a predator that does not have its teeth. Its condition can also be equated to a gun that does not have any bullet as yet. The heavyweight torpedoes, which are supposed to be its primary weapons, have got stuck because of the AgustaWestland scam.

Submarines at the Navy’s disposal

By the looks of it, the Indian Navy does not have much to choose from when it comes to submarines. At present, it has 13 submarines that are conventional and also getting on in years. Nine of them belong to the Sindhughosh class and were made in Russia, and the remaining are Shishumar class submarines and were made in Germany. A submarine is not designed to last more than 25 years but 10 of India’s submarines are already older than that.


Arihant is the first submarine made in India to run on nuclear energy. It is presently going through sea trials and one expects that it will be launched soon. India is also building three similar submarines in Vizag. Each of them is going to cost the government at least INR 10,000 crores and all of them will be equipped with nuclear warheads. India will also construct six such submarines in the future and they will cost the government at least INR 50,000 crore.

INS Shalki

This was the first ever submarine built in India and was commissioned on 7 February 1992. Incidentally, this submarine too was built by Mazagon Dock. It is still active. With this submarine India became part of an elite group of countries that were building their own submarines.

Rounding up

It is heartening to see India make such advances in the domain of warfare and defence. After all, security of the country is always an issue of significant federal importance. Perhaps in this vein it would also be worthwhile to suggest that the main challenge for our PM is to make India a weapons manufacturing hub – as is his dream – and thus generate employment for more people at the grassroots level.

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