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First Scorpene undocks; sea trials next

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Kalvari, the first of the Indian Navy's six Scorpene class stealth submarines. Photo: PTI.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Kalvari, the first of the Indian Navy's six Scorpene class stealth submarines, was on Monday "undocked" here, paving the way for sea trials and its eventual commissioning in September, 2016.

The event was witnessed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who warned that for future projects, there will be a penalty for delay and reward for early completion.

The six Scorpenes are being built by Mazagon Docks Ltd in collaboration with French firm DCNS.

Christened 'Project 75', the Scorpenes have already seen a delay of almost 40 months. While the first delivery was scheduled for 2012, the revised date is September of next year.

The navy said that the project has "now been brought on track and the delivery schedule for the successive submarines has been reduced".

Parrikar asked the defence public sector yards -- MDL and Goa shipyard -- to double their production in the coming three years. "I have asked all the defence PSUs to double their production in the next three years," he said.

The defence minister also said that as far as P75(I) Project was concerned, private players can also be invited for a joint venture, which would help in the early completion of the project. P75(I) is the next project of the Navy under which six submarines will be built in India.

He warned that if the project was not completed within the stipulated timeframe, the defaulting yard would have to pay a penalty. Early completion of the project, on the other hand, would be rewarded with a bonus, he said.

He also asked MDL to take a lead in ensuring skill development among the local unemployed youth.

The first Scorpene submarine has been named after its predecessor, an erstwhile Russian 'Foxtrot' class submarine, Kalvari. It was the first submarine operated by India.

The Navy said that upon its commissioning in 2016, it will lend an "enormous fillip" to the Navy's underwater capability.

As for 'Project 75', the remaining five boats would be delivered by the yard by 2020 and would form the core of the navy's submarine arm for the next two decades, an official statement said.

The Scorpene submarines pack a potent punch and would come equipped with anti-ship missiles and long-range guided torpedoes along with modern sensor suite.

The submarine is designed to operate in "all theatres, including the tropics", said an official.

It will now go on trial both in harbour and at sea and on surface and while being 'dived', an MDL official added.

Parrikar said that, with the addition of the six Scorpene vessels, "India will have a sufficient number of submarines by 2020".

Lauding MDL's contribution to defence production, Parrikar said its "performance has improved by 22 to 25 per cent".

He also said the MDL will introduce skill development courses in certain fields. "MDL will train youth in many fields like welding, electrical, fitting, etc., so that unemployed youths get jobs," he said.

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