The submarine INS Vela

Source: By Yogesh Naik: The Indian Express

Vela, the fourth submarine of P75 of the Indian Navy, was 25 November 2021 commissioned by Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh at the naval dockyard. This will be the second addition to the Indian Navy’s fleet of warships after INS Vishakapatnam’s commissioning on 21 November 2021.

Project 75 conceptualised for the acquisition for 25 submarines at the time of the IK Gujral government, P 75 evolved into a 30-year plan for building submarines. In 2005, India and France signed a $ 3.75 billion contract for building six Scorpene class submarines. The executing company on the Indian side is Mazgaon Docks Ltd, and on the French side, it is DCNS, which is now called Naval Group. The project has been dogged by delays and questions over the reluctance of the French government to act on the commitment for “transfer of technology” that was an integral part of the contract. As a result, the first of the six subs, INS Kalvari, was commissioned five years behind schedule, in 2017.

After Kalvari, two more submarines under the contract, INS Khanderi and INS Karanj, were commissioned. Vela is the fourth, and sea trials are ongoing for Vagir, while the sixth, Vagsheer, is under construction.

Vela is named after a decommissioned submarine Vela, which served the Navy from 1973 to 2010. The earlier Vela belonged to Foxtrot class submarine of Soviet origin. Naval sources said the submarine can take up to eight officers and 35 men.

The submarine is equipped with C303 anti torpedo countermeasure system, and can carry up to 18 torpedoes or Exocet anti-ship missiles or 30 mines in place of torpedoes.

Vela will be commissioned into the Indian Navy’s western command, and will be based in Mumbai. The sea trials of Vela were delayed due to COVID 19, which led to a delay in its commissioning.

Vela has a length of 67.5 metres and height of 12.3 metres. The beam measures 6.2 metres. It can reach a top speed of 20 knots when submerged and a surface top speed of 11 knots.

The submarine has four MTU 12V 396 SE84 diesel engines and 360 battery cells for power, and has a silent Permanently Magnetised Propulsion Motor. The hull, fin and hydroplanes are designed for minimum underwater resistance and all equipment inside the pressure hull is mounted on shock-absorbing cradles for enhanced stealth.

Vela is a diesel-electric powered attack submarine, designed to act as “sea denial” as well as “access denial” warfare to the adversary.

The submarine can engage in offensive operations across the entire spectrum of naval warfare, including anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, and mine lying and area surveillance.