French firm Naval Group signed a pact with India’s DRDO to fit indigenous Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system on Kalvari class submarines.
The indigenous fuel cell-based AIP system will be fitted on INS Kalvari soon.
The AIP has been developed by DRDO’s Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL), and the land-based prototype has been tested.
An AIP module enables conventional submarines to remain submerged for longer duration thereby increasing their endurance and reducing chances of detection. DRDO claims its fuel cell-based AIP is unique as the hydrogen is generated onboard and has merits in performance compared to other technologies.
Six Scorpene submarines are being built under Project-75 by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) under technology transfer from Naval Group of France under a $3.75 billion deal signed in October 2005. The project is about four years behind schedule. The first submarine INS Kalvari was commissioned in December 2017, the second one INS Khanderi in September 2019, third INS Karanj in March 2021 and the fourth INS Vela joined service in November 2021.