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India's Kalvari stealth submarine starts sea trials

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dian Navy's first indigenous Scorpene-class stealth submarine 'Kalvari'. Photo: PIB.

MUMBAI (PTI): Kalvari, Indian Navy's first indigenous Scorpene-class stealth submarine, on Sunday sailed out of Mumbai Harbour for sea trials even as the plan to purchase heavy-weight torpedos for the vessel remains stuck due to the VVIP chopper scam.

Kalvari is the first of the India's six Scorpene-class submarines being built under the much-delayed Project 75. The vessels are being built by Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in collaboration with French company DCNS.

In October 2015, Kalvari had been set afloat. "The sea trials of Kalvari have begun today. It is a proud moment for us," a Navy official said.

However, the plans to acquire heavy-weight torpedos for the submarine is stuck in the Defence Ministry even though the Navy had been pushing for it, citing national security imperatives.

WASS Italy, a Finmeccanica company, had emerged as a successful bidder in the procurement for the torpedos for Project 75 submarines.

Subsequently, because of the group's alleged involvement in the VVIP helicopter case, the procurement was put on hold in July 2014.

Navy Chief Admiral R K Dhowan, while stressing on the importance of getting heavy-weight torpedos, had said that the Defence Ministry will take a final call on it.

India may have to go in for two more Scorpene-class submarines after the first six are delivered to the Navy.

Kalvari is expected to enter service by September end. The remaining five submarines are scheduled to be rolled out every nine months.

The Navy has, at present, 14 operational submarines, including nine Russian-made and four German HDW vessels.

Chakra, a Russian nuclear-powered submarine, is on lease with the Indian Navy.

India's first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine, Arihant is already undergoing sea trials and is expected to be inducted shortly.

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