In a bid to build up secure sea lanes and the underwater capabilities of the Indian Navy, the fourth of six underwater warships being built in India with French collaboration was launched in Mazagaon Dockyard, Mumbai on May 6, 2019. Before Vela, Kalvari, Khanderi, Karanj submarines had been launched. The 5th and the 6th submarine in the series, Vagir and Vagsheer are in the preliminary stages of construction on the assembly line. The contract between a French Naval Company called DCNS and Mazgaon Dock Ltd. was signed in 2006 for a 3-billion-dollar project known as project 75.
These submarines are 67.5 meters long with a height of about 12.3 meters. They have 360 battery cells that weigh 750 kilograms each and powers the permanently magnetized propulsion motor. They also have the Submarine Tactical Integrated Combat System (SUBTICS), sea-skimming SM 39 Exocet missiles or the heavyweight wire guided Surface and Underwater Target (SUT) torpedoes.
INS Vela was first commissioned in 1973 served for 37 years after which it was decommissioned. It has now been launched with better technology with a number of tests being conducted before its launch. It can not only undertake different types of missions such as anti-surface warfare, intelligence gathering, area surveillance, etc. but also provides for operation between other components of the naval task force.
It is worthy to note that this signifies another leap towards the “Make in India” initiative and shows self-reliance.