Latest pics live on TV show the sub almost totally submerged with only a few feet of the sail visible.The sub appears to have settled on the bottom.It means that it may be almost totally filled with seawater.If there was as stated in some reports a"plume" of smoke from the sail,then the hatches may not have been closed during the weapon loading.The blast and fire would've then ripped through the entire sub.Slim chance for any survivors.In the earlier battery fire of the sub a few years ago,the damage was nothing like this indicating that it is more likely something went wrong with the weapons loading.I made an initial post where a US sub also faced a battery explosion and how it happened.batteries on Indian Kilos are supposed to be of desi manufacture,which give better performance than original Soviet batteries meant for their colder climatic ops.Excpt, from DID.2008 report.
A German-designed, Indian-built main battery has replaced the Russian batteries in all vessels, and India’s submarines have also received either a Russian upgrade package of missiles, sonar, and machinery & weapon control systems, or India’s indigenous Panchendriya package. The goal is to bring them closer to parity with the more advanced Type 636 Improved Kilo Class external link variant – S65 INS Sindhushastra, and possibly S63 INS Sindhurakshak, are already rumored to be at or close to that level.
With this loss and the possibility that the other damaged subs will also be out of action for a short while,there is no indication that there is any major damage to them,what does the IN/GOI need to do to restore the "precarious" situ that exists in the supposed "covert" report on the IN's sub fleet condition? What are the options that need to be exercised immediately to plug the gap that will invite the enemy to think mischievously.The upgraded Kilos that were undergoing their refits in Russia,were supposedly also fitted with Indian sonars.With two more Kilos undergoing refits in Vizag,there will barely be about 4-5 Kilos battleworthy as of now,apart from the 4 U-209s. The Chakra is going through its paces having just been delivered,with some teething eqpt. problems reported,and the ATV is still undergoing trials and is meant for strat. deterrent only.The Scorpenes will come not earlier than two years from now and will then have to be "broken in",as they will be of a completely new type,French origin tech,something that the IN hasn't experienced before.So what are our options,short and long term.
The most obvious short term one is to ask Russia for one or two interim replacements for Kilos.Possibly on lease until new subs can be built.They operate the same and are building more for the RuN and 6 new for Vietnam.This will avoid a new training regime.But the lives lost can't be replaced and will be a severe setback.This still does not also answer what we should do to augment the sub fleet in the face of the large-scale Sino-Pak sub building programme.MMS is supposedly due to make a visit to Russia before the year end.The long term option is to hurry up with the specs for the second line and decide fast,plus accelerate indigenous nuclear sub building,s I said earlier with a second line for SSN/SSGN subs built simultaneously along with the SSBN/Arihants.