INS Khanderi – Scorpene submarine

INS Khanderi, the second indigenously built Scorpene submarine, was launched at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in Mumbai.

INS Khanderi | Introduction

  • Khanderi is the second of the six submarines being built at MDL in collaboration with M/s DCNS of France, as part of Project 75 of Indian Navy.
  • The first one, Kalvari, is completing sea trials and will be commissioned shortly into the Indian Navy.
  • Khanderi has been launched into the water and after the trails it will be commissioned as INS Khanderi submarine into the Indian Navy for operational duty.

INS Khanderi | Scorpene-class submarine


  • The Scorpene class submarines are a class of diesel-electric attack submarine jointly being developed by the French DCN and the Spanish company Navantia and now by DCNS.
  • It features diesel propulsion and an additional air-independent propulsion (AIP) system.
  • They are 67 meters long, 6.2 meters wide and have 1,550 tonnes displacement.
  • The state-of-art features of the Scorpene include superior stealth and the ability to launch an attack on the enemy using precision-guided weapons. The attack can be launched with torpedoes, as well as tube launched anti-ship missiles, underwater or on surface.
  • Designed to operate in all theatres including the tropics, the submarines can undertake multifarious missions including anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, operations by special forces and mine laying etc.

INS Khanderi | Air-independent propulsion

  • Air-independent propulsion (AIP) is any technology which allows a non-nuclear submarine to operate without the need to access atmospheric oxygen (by surfacing or using a snorkel).
  • It can augment or replace the diesel-electric propulsion system of non-nuclear vessels.
  • It is based on the combustion of stored oxygen and ethanol to augment battery-powered propulsion.

INS Khanderi | Significance of AIP

  • Notably, a submarine is about stealth. It is a weapons platform not visible to the naked eye. AIP significantly improves stealth because it enables a submarine to generate electricity for services and battery charging and propulsion while completely submerged.
  • AIP systems also generate electricity, powering a submarine to operate and also generate oxygen, lighting and amenities for crew.
  • They enable conventional diesel-electric submarines to remain submerged for two to three weeks at a time. This significantly increases the risk of detection.
  • Another advantage is that the Non-nuclear submarines running on battery power or AIP can be virtually silent.

INS Khanderi | Air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarine and Diesel-electric submarine

  • AIP submarine can stay under water for longer time compared to Diesel electric submarine.
  • INS Khanderi is a diesel electric submarine. Diesel electric submarine works on a diesel engine when submarine is on the surface, the minute it goes under water it works on electricity generated by the batteries. When the battery power is completed, the submarine need to come up to the surface and go back on diesel and it is vulnerable while reaching the surface.
  • The AIP need not reach the surface at all and can run the diesel engine inside with independent air and charge the batteries and need not come up on surface. So the submarine is not easily detected which is a great advantage. AIP submarine can stay under water for longer time compared to Diesel electric submarine.
  • As long as the submarine is under water it poses a big threat to the enemy and it is the biggest asset when it is under water. Nuclear submarines can remain under water till human endurance can last. America has a series of nuclear submarines; China has built 6 to 7 of them and promises to build more. China at the moment has 60 submarines as per US Department of Defence report.

INS Khanderi | Highlights of INS Khanderi

  • Khanderi uses precision-guided weapons including torpedoes as well as tube-launched anti-ship missiles, which can be launched underwater or on surface.
  • It can undertake multifarious types of missions typically undertaken by any modern submarine, i.e anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, mine laying, area surveillance, etc.
  • The submarine is designed to operate in all theatres, including the tropics.
  • All means and communications are provided to ensure interoperability with other components of a naval task force.

INS Khanderi | Conclusion

In 1999 the government had approved a 30-year submarine building plan for induction of 24 submarines in a phased manner. Unfortunately for various reasons it got delayed and India is lacking in the conventional submarines. The Indian Navy’s submarine arm will complete 50 years on December 8 this year.

The Indian Navy is aiming to have a 200-ship fleet by 2027 as per a maritime capability perspective plan in order to guard interests and assets of the nation in waters around them. Today we have 137 ships and submarines, our aspiration is to become a 200-ship Navy (by 2027).The nation and the government has accepted that the 21st century will be a maritime century.


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