The Indian Navy on Wednesday launched INS Karanj, the third made-in-India Scorpene class submarine, as Naval chief Sunil Lanba called for 'resolute efforts' to rev up the construction and delivery of the remaining state-of-the-art subs in the project started 12 years ago.
Admiral Lanba's wife Reena Lanba launched the submarine with superior stealth features, constructed by shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai.
The submarine will undergo rigorous tests for one year before it is commissioned, Admiral Lanba said.
The Naval chief also called for introspection in the ship building business to overcome the delay in the construction and commissioning of submarines.
"I also believe some introspection is called for at this stage. The project (submarine construction at MDL) began 12 years ago. Notwithstanding the associated complexities, we need to make resolute efforts to increase the speed of construction and ensure timely delivery of the remaining submarines," he said.
The role of the MDL was critical in this endeavour, he added.
"To keep the induction plan of the Navy on track with a focused approach, this premier yard (MDL) will be able to deliver the platforms on schedule," he said.
A contract with French company Naval Group was signed in 2005 for the supply of six submarines. The first submarine INS Kalvari was commissioned in December last year.
In January last year, Khanderi, the second Scorpene class submarine, was launched.
Lanba also announced that henceforth certification works would be completed at the MDL.
"The launch of Karanj also marks a significant departure from the manning and training philosophy that we adopted for the first two submarines. From this third submarine onwards, you (MDL) would be fully self-reliant as far as training and certification processes are concerned," he said.
"Today all our 34 naval platforms and the ones under construction are being built by Indian shipyards. This sort of impetus also harbours well for the downstream industrial ecosystem," he said.
Talking to reporters after the launch, the Navy chief said, "The Kalvari class is miles ahead in stealth and technology compared to (that in) the neighbouring country. Every submarine at least takes a 12-month time for various tests before commissioning."
The first three submarines of Scorpene class are named Kalvari, Khanderi and Karanj. The remaining three (to be launched in the future) will be called Vela, Vagir and Vagsheer, a Navy spokesperson said.
"Every nine months, we will have a launch of a submarine from the MDL," he said.
INS Karanj, loaded with advanced acoustic silencing techniques, can attack with precision and is expected to boost India's ageing sea fleet.
Asked about the future of the decommissioned aircraft carrier 'Viraat', Lanba said they have received a proposal from the Andhra Pradesh government which wants to convert the vessel into a maritime museum.
"They are looking at a site near Visakhapatnam. They have appointed a company to make a detailed project report, which is being done. Once we have a concrete proposal, we can take it forward for Viraat," he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month commissioned the first of the six Scorpene class submarines, the Kalvari, into the Navy and said its induction was a big step in India's defence preparedness.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had then said submarine building was a sophisticated and exacting craft which very few countries possessed in their industrial capacity.