Indian Navy’s first all-women crew crosses Cape Horn

Image Courtesy: Indian Navy
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had flagged off the 56-foot vessel from Goa on September 10.

Cape Horn (Chile), January 19:  On 19th January, 2018 the first all-women crew of Indian Navy successfully crossed the notoriously rough Drake Passage, and rounded Cape Horn off the Southern tip of South America, often called the Mount Everest of sailing.

Congratulating the team, the Prime Minister tweeted, “Wonderful news! Delighted that INSV Tarini has rounded Cape Horn in the last few hours. We are extremely proud of their accomplishments.”

The six-member crew of Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) Tarini, was flagged-off from Goa on 10th September last year by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The team led by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, was trained in the Ocean Sailing Node at Goa. They are also involved in the collection of meteorological, ocean and wave data as well as monitoring marine pollution during the course of their journey.

The four scheduled stop points of the five-leg expedition are: Fremantle in Australia, Lyttelton, Port Stanley and Cape Town. The 56-foot vessel reached Lyttelton in New Zealand early last month after their first stop in Australia. Titled ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’, the expedition is in line with the national policy to empower women to attain their full potential and aims to showcase ‘Nari Shakti’ on a global platform. They are expected to return to Goa in April, 2018.


Source: NDTV, DNA India


INS Kalvari and the Birth of Indian Submarines

On December 8 this year, President Ram Nath Kovind awarded President’s color, the highest honour to a military unit, to the Submarine Arm of the Indian Naval Services. But it was back in 1956 that the origin of submarine arm began.

Eight years post independence Pakistan was building its military might. United States announced to transfer naval support to Pakistan by supplying One Cruise, Four Destroyers and some Submarines. Looking at the growing closeness of Pakistan with the US and China, Indian Navy recognised the need to develop anti-submarine equipments and a strong warfare resilience against the neighbouring powers Pakistan and China.

Indian Navy established Torpedo and Anti-submarine School and Tactical School focussed more on theoretical knowledge, but lacked practical training. INS planned to setup a submarine trained cadre of 38 Officers and 65 Sailors. In 1961, the first batch of this cadre was thus sent to Britain for practical training under the Royal Navy.

In 1965, Russia offered to supply India with four submarines, one submarine depot, two lady ship tanks and five patrol boats. From 1967, the four submarines, INS Kalvari, Karanj, Khanderi and Kursura, started arriving at the Indian shore. INS Kalvari, the first one, was commissioned in December 1967. Till 1990, India had a total of 17 submarines.

By November 2017, the count of submarines with Indian Navy has dipped down to 14 – nine Sindhughosh class (diesel electric powered), four Shishumar class (diesel electric powered) and one Arihant class (nuclear powered) submarine. With the commissioning and reincarnation of INS Kalvari on December 14 this year, we now have a strength of 15 submarines, short of 2 submarines by 1990 count.

Project 75 and Project 75I of the Indian Navy is aimed to improve the naval strength of the country by commissioning 12 more submarines. Six submarines made under Project 75 would be made in collaboration with a French company. While the next six submarines under Project 75I would be made indigenously.

INS Kalvari, the first Scorpene class submarine for the country, is the first submarines under Project 75. These are being made by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilder Limited in partnership with French company M/S Naval Group.

The submarine is one step forward for the country’s armed forces. One, because it comes with state-of-the-art Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) System that allows it to remain undetected underwater for 21 days. This makes it even more efficient than nuclear-powered submarines. Two, it comes with Exocet anti-ship missile, manufactured by M/s Naval Group, which is the best technology available to the world. This missile is an advantage because it remains undetected till it reaches the target.

This anti submarine warfare is also a way ahead for Make in India programme since it is being produced in India with aide of an Indian company. And also because of technological support of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation).

DRDO has developed Varunastra, a torpedo with range of 40 kms, for Kalvari to enable launch attack. Alongwith this DRDO has also developed an Advanced Indigenous Distress SONAR System for Submarines (AIDSSS). The organisation is also developing indigenous AIP system for the country.

Project 75 is not a mere horse trade for Indian Navy. But it is an attempt at strengthening the naval warfare of the country. Raveen Janu, Associate Fellow at Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) calls submarines the ultimate stealth weapons. “Despite advances in sonar technology over the decades, detecting, tracking and targeting submarines remains extremely difficult, particularly in the Indian Ocean where the salinity of the seas and the presence of thermal zones of variable water temperature, make submarine detection extremely difficult,” he shares on the official website of CLAWS. Technological novice is a priority today.

INS Sindhushastra being the last submarine inducted by the Indian Navy in 2000, the development of anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare has become a requisite for India.

Defence Minister to flag off Indian Navy women crew’s circumnavigation expedition

On Sunday, September 10, the newly appointed Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will flag off the very first attempt of the Indian Navy women crew to circumnavigate the globe in Panaji.

According to a release issued by the Press Information Bureau, the women crew will be managing the whole operation on a sailing vessel in the first-ever global journey. It also stated that the flagging off of ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’ will be held at INS Mandovi Boat Pool, Verem, near Panaji.

In the circumnavigation that will finish in March 2018, the crew will be circumnavigating on an Indian built sail boat, INSV Tarini, reported The India Express.

INSV Tarini is the sister vessel of INSV Mhadei, a sail boat that was used by naval officer Dilip Donde to undertake a solo circumnavigation in 2009-10.

A naval spokesperson said that the entire distance will be covered in five legs and the crew will have stopovers at four ports: Fremantle (Australia), Lyttelton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands) and Cape Town (South Africa), for repairs and replenishment of ration.

As per the reports, this project is being considered essential towards promoting ocean sailing activities in the Navy while depicting Government of India’s thrust for ‘Nari Shakti’.

Sources: India Today, The India Express

Image source: PTI


INS Betwa tips over, leaves 2 dead and 14 injured

INS Betwa, one of the three Brahmaputra-class 3,800 tonne guided missile frigate tipped over while undergoing a refit at Mumbai’s naval dockyard yesterday. This first of a kind incident left 2 sailors dead while 14 other injured are being treated at INHS Asvini. According to Indian Express, a navy spokesperson explained the failure of block mechanism that is used to dock and undock ships led to the accident. The mechanism to tip the ship before being returned to water tripped and it fell sideways. The main mast of the frigate broke and long-range surveillance radars and other critical components may have been damaged.

An enquiry has been set to determine the extent of damage and fix the responsibility. The Navy chief, Admiral Sunil Lanba has left for Mumbai to take stock of the situation.

Commissioned in 2004 and built indigenously, it is armed with Uran anti-ship missiles, Barak 1 surface-to-air missiles and torpedoes. Named after the river, Betwa; it is one of the key warships of the Western Naval Command with speeds up to 30 knots.


Sources: Indian Express, The Times of India

Indian Navy’s most advanced warship ‘Mormugao’ launched

The Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba was present and said Mormugao can be compared with the best warships in the world.

According to the NDTV, Lanba’s wife Reena launched the ship at Mazagaon Docks Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) in a function at 11:58am. It was then released into the Arabian Sea for the first time.

The vessel has been named after the Mormugao port of Goa. It is yet to go through certain testings  as per  the requirement of the Indian Navy  and would be knows as INS Mormugao.

The warship is outfitted with surface-to-surface missiles, surface-to-air missiles  and anti submarine rocket launchers. Mormugao has a displacement of 7,300 tonne with maximum speed of more than 30 knots. It is additionally equipped for conveying two  anti-submarine warfare helicopters.

Mormugao is built by MDL  a government run shipbuilding organisation. It belongs to Vishakhpatnam class of ships under the project 15B.

Admiral Lanba said, “This ship serves the Make in India drive of the country as it is indigenously built.” He also mentioned, the Indian Navy and MDL are jointly building ships together.

By 2020-2024 four more such warships would be delivered by the MDL.

The leaking submarine: Scorpene leak explained.

On August 24, an Australian newspaper ‘The Australian’ published documents containing details of six Scorpene submarines which are being built in India by French firm DCNS. These six submarines are part of Indian Navy’s Project-75 programme, of which one submarine INS Kalvari was put to test earlier this year in the Mazagaon docks in Mumbai, where they are being built.

The 22,400-paged document revealed restricted information on the Scorpene submarines, which are diesel-electric attack submarines. The documents specified the secret combat abilities of the vehicles, including range, frequency at which they gather intelligence, noise they radiate, endurance, diving depths and other such technical details. It also illustrated the details of the sonar system that is employed by the submarine to gather ntelligence underwater.

While DCNS claims that the leak originated from India, the newspaper said that the documents had been transferred from DCNS in 2011 by a former sub-contractor to a Southeast Asian company, from where it was moved to another branch of a second Southeast Asian company.

Speaking immediately after the leak was made public on Wednesday, Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar said that the documents were posted with vital parameters being blackened out, thereby ensuring no compromise on the security. However, he has asserted that the Navy, in particular, will be prepared for a ‘worse-case scenario’, whatever that may be.

Meanwhile, retired Navy officials and experts do not seem too concerned about the leak either.  Speaking to Sushant Singh of The Indian Express, retired Captain J.S. Malik, who served for 32 years with including the office of Director of Submarine Operations said, “Most of this data is generic and belongs to Naval Staff Qualitative Requirements (NSQR) provided by the Navy to the French company, and ‘binding data’ for the product. It does not pertain to any specific submarine, and has limited usage for the adversary.”

While all seems rosy at the Indian Navy end, things do not appear as easy for DCNS. The French company has been brought on board to design a variant of the same Scorpene for Australia, Malaysia, Chile and Brazil by their respective navies. This leak is now expected to trigger concern and doubts regarding the security of the proposed projects to be handled by the company, especially in Australia and U.S.

It must be noted that the leaked documents contained data that is several years outdated, owing to the fact that it was compiled in 2011. However, while making these observations, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull raised the matter that ‘any leak of classified information is a concern.’

The $3-billion-worth-Scorpene submarines are expected to form the submarine-arm for the Indian Navy over the next two decades, with INS Kalvari almost ready for induction into the fleet.

Scorpene leak not compromising : Navy

The Indian Navy on Thursday announced  that the leaked documents relating to India’s Scorpene submarines reported by an Australian news agency have been examined and found to not be compromising in nature. The Navy said that the vital parameters had been blacked out and the documents “do not pose any security threat”. According to NDTV, sources said that information relates to the configurations and systems from 2011 and are outdated and irrelevant, allowing the Navy to heave a sigh of relief.

The leak on Wednesday, described by The Australian as revealing the entire combat capability of the Scorpene submarines had thrown the nation into a tizzy since the information was capable of compromising one of the world’s largest defense undertakings. Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar, who called the leak “a hacking”, briefed PM Narendra Modi about it and ordered an investigation into it. However, within 24 hours of the leak the investigation discovered that the leak did not take place from India.

French shipbuilder DCNS, which has designed the submarines, has been asked to investigate and report on the leak. They have reportedly said that the leak could be the result of “economic wars with competitors”. The French government is also undertaking an investigation into the leak after India took up the matter with the Director-General of Armaments of France. They have been requested to treat the matter with urgency and share their findings with India.


Image Source: India Today