DRDO developing onboard equipment monitoring system for submarines


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Sep 22, 2012
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India's premier defence research agency is in the process of developing the 'Air Independent Propulsion (AIP)' technology that will enable future Indian-built submarines stay underwater for longer than a conventional submarine.

The full scale operation of a land-based prototype of the indigenously built AIP system is likely to be demonstrated by 2015.

Defence Minister A K Antony told parliament in written reply to a question that Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO)'s Ambernath-based Naval Material Research Laboratory (NMRL) is working on a technology demonstration project for "Development of Land-based Prototype for AIP" for submarine propulsion.

With the AIP, the vulnerability of a submarine for detection by enemy warships can be reduced by increasing its underwater endurance in dived conditions.

Normally, diesel electric generators are used by conventional submarines to charge its batteries that provide propulsion power when the submarine is in dived conditions.

To run the generators, the submarine has to surface for taking in air and throwing out the exhaust. Using the AIP system, a submarine can charge batteries without surfacing.

Indian Navy currently operates 14 conventional diesel electric submarines -- 10 Kilo class and four HDW class vessels. India is also building six Scorpene conventional submarines at the Mumbai-based Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL) under Project-75.

The Scorpene submarines were conceived as non-AIP vessels, but French firm DCNS has offered to fit the last two submarines under the six-vessel project with AIP and the offer is still under the Indian Navy's consideration.

It has late last year issued a Request for Information for six more conventional submarines as a follow-on project for Project-75 and has codenamed it as Project-75-I. Under Project-75-I, the six submarines to be built by India will have AIP technology.


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