Significant stealth boost! India’s Kalvari-class submarines to get indigenous AIP system to enhance ability to stay underwater – Times of India

India’s submarines get an indigenous edge: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has indigenously developed an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system which will enhance the underwater endurance of conventional submarines.
This new system, designed to significantly increase stealth and operational effectiveness, will be fitted on the first submarine next year, a senior DRDO scientist involved in the project said, according to an ET report.The AIP system will enable submarines to stay underwater for almost two weeks, a substantial upgrade from the current few days. This development will provide a strategic advantage in naval operations.
Developed in collaboration with private sector entities such as L&T, the AIP has undergone extensive trials. DRDO has demonstrated a shore-based version to the Navy. DRDO has chosen a fuel cell-based AIP due to its high safety margins and superior performance compared to other systems available globally.
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DRDO chief Samir Kamat recently inaugurated an AIP Integration and Testing facility at L&T’s AM Naik Heavy Engineering Complex. Over the next year, this advanced system will be manufactured and tested before being installed on a submarine at Mazagon Dockyard Limited (MDL).
Suman Roy Choudhury, programme director, AIP, Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL), confirmed that the AIP would be fitted on the INS Kalvari submarine during its first major refit in September next year. He was quoted as saying, “The AIP would be fitted onboard INS Kalvari submarine when it comes in for its first major refit in September next year.”
The INS Kalvari is the first submarine of the Scorpene class, built by MDL. The process of incorporating the AIP involves cutting the submarine into two halves and inserting a new AIP section. This procedure will increase both the length and weight of the submarine, necessitating assistance from its original manufacturer, France’s Naval Group.
Once the integration of the AIP is successful on the INS Kalvari, the system could be fitted on five more Kalvari class submarines during their major refits at MDL. This success may even impact additional submarines under current price negotiations, potentially equipping them with the AIP from the outset.

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