Indian Navy Updates

New Scorpene Class Submarines for Navy


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Project-75, Scorpene Submarines

Mains level: NA


Central Idea

  • Procurement Announcement: The three additional Scorpene submarines will be procured under the Buy (Indian) category. The Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in Mumbai will build the submarines.

Scorpene Submarines and Project-75

  • Project-75: MDL is already building six Scorpene class submarines under Project-75, with technology transfer from the French defense firm.
  • Commissioned Submarines: Five out of the six Scorpene submarines have been commissioned, with the final one expected to be commissioned early next year.
  • Delays and Challenges: Project-75 faced significant delays, as the first submarine was originally scheduled for delivery in 2012.

Need for Additional Submarines

  • Addressing Delays and Fleet Strength: The procurement of three additional submarines is necessary to compensate for the delayed deliveries under Project-75 and strengthen India’s submarine fleet.
  • Current Fleet Status: The Indian Navy currently operates 16 conventional submarines, but it needs a minimum of 18 submarines to carry out its full spectrum of operations.
  • Refit Challenges: Around 30% of submarines are under refit at any given time, further reducing the number of operational submarines.
  • Employment Opportunities: Procuring additional submarines with higher indigenous content will create employment opportunities and enhance MDL’s submarine construction capabilities.

Capabilities of Scorpene Submarines

  • Attack Submarines: Scorpene submarines are designed as conventional attack submarines to target and sink enemy naval vessels.
  • Weapons and Surveillance: They can launch a variety of torpedoes and missiles, equipped with surveillance and intelligence-gathering systems.
  • Specifications: Scorpene submarines are approximately 220 feet long, with a height of about 40 feet. They have a top speed of 11 knots when surfaced and 20 knots when submerged.
  • Diesel-Electric Propulsion: These submarines use diesel-electric propulsion systems, providing an endurance of around 50 days.

Comparison with Nuclear Submarines

  • India’s Current Nuclear Submarines: India currently operates two nuclear-powered submarines (SSBMs) of the Arihant class.
  • Endurance and Speed: Nuclear submarines have theoretically unlimited endurance and can operate for up to 30 years without refuelling. They can also achieve higher speeds.
  • Cost and Expertise: Nuclear submarines are expensive and require specialized expertise to operate.
  • Advancements in Conventional Submarines: Diesel-electric technology has significantly improved the range and stealth of conventional submarines.
  • Air Independent Propulsion (AIP): Retrofitting Scorpene submarines with AIP systems will enhance their endurance and stealth capabilities.


  • India’s decision to procure three additional Scorpene submarines enhances its naval capabilities and strengthens the indigenous manufacturing sector.
  • The addition of these submarines will help meet the requirements of a growing fleet and improve operational readiness.

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