Navy working in tandem with DRDO to master three critical technologies

The service has committed substantial manpower and financial resources to these three areas – air independent propulsion (AIP), sonars and electronic warfare suites (EWS) – and is on the verge of a breakthrough.

This was disclosed by a senior naval officer, closely connected with the researches, while speaking to Millennium Post.

According to the officer, the AIP system that allows a conventional submarine to survive underwater for much longer time spans, beyond the capacity of the diesel guzzling ones, is much into development in the country.

As is stated in the original contract for the Scorpene submarines, built by the Mazagon Docks in collaboration with the French firm, DCNS, also known as Project 75 in naval parlance – the first of which, is yet to see the light of day – will have the AIP fitted to the last two vessels of the series of six.

The naval officer stated that the service has already begun holding talks with the French about the costs of integrating the AIP – which the French will do – on the two submarines. The two organisations are on the verge of contracting Larsen and Toubro for the actually producing the AIPs.

The second area where fast developments are taking place is in terms of the sonars. The official said that though Indian R&D agencies are still not capable of developing the electronics for the sonars, it is still ahead in fabricating them with the help of the DRDO.

The last area is the EWS. For long, the Indian navy had been building the ships from the hull up, and also the superstructure. But when it came to the weaponry and the steerage and control, besides the EWS, this focus on indigenisation had to shift to procurement from foreign vendors.

Now, the navy is bent upon acquiring the capability to build and fitting the EWS on its ships. To that end, the DRDO and the navy are working towards creating the indigenous capability in building the EWS. The two together have moved forward to an extent in developing the EWS, though much still needs to be done.

However, the navy is still setting the standard for the other two services – the army and the air force – in collaborating with the DRDO for indigenisation of its platforms and equipments. The service always deputes manpower and provides for requisite resources to projects being jointly undertaken.
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