Here is Ajay Shukl's take on the crisis in our indigenous sub fleet.http://business-standard.com/india/news ... et/446636/
Ajai Shukla: Building a submarine fleet
The Indian Navy makes do with 14 old-style, diesel-electric submarines, of which just seven or eight are operational at any time
He talks of the "Anthony style" of forming a commitee to look into another committee's findings ad nauseum! I remmeber Adm.Bhagwat's plan of the IN building /acquiring 24 subs way back when he was CNS.Two decades on,we are nowhere near even pak's ability to build conventional AIP subs!
While AS recommends just two lines of sub construction,we actually require three.Two to build conventional subs and one to build N-subs.The N-sub production is straightforward.We require SSBMs and SSGNs. Until we have adequate numbers of SSBNs-we should build a min. of 3 first,local production of SSGNs should wait till the strategic detrrent SSBNs are completed,At least one more Akula-2 should be acquired from Russia,preferably two,so that one will always be at sea.
The conventional sub lines are more complicated.We need both western and Russian tech and accompanying AIP modules and weaponry.The jury is still out as to which AIP system is better,MESMA-which pak already has or the fuel-cell system.Here we are supposed to be workign on our own design,but the Germans have the best available so far.While we've been upgrading our German U-209 boats,acquiring another 4 U-214s eventually replacing the 209s,would be an excellent way in which we could stay abreast of German U-boat tech.German U-boats are the most prolific designs being built across the world,with several nations in Asia building/acquiring them like SoKo,Indonesia,Israel too.The fuel-cell tech could be also fitted to another Indo-Russian line of AIP subs that will carry Brahmos-which cannot be fitted to western subs and which is fast becoming the key common missile system for the three services.As AS says,the Scorpene line can be extended to another 2-3 with the bulk of them fitted with MESMA.Having the advantage of operating both MESMA and the German fuel-cell systems,we can then decide which is best for the Indo-Russian AIP subs.
8 Scorpenes,8 upgraded and new U-boats,8+ upgraded Kilos and new Brahmos subs to progressivley replace them will give us a total of 24+ conventional/AIP subs.With another 10-12 N-subs (SSBNs and SSGNs) and a dozen midget subs,will be a goodly number and variety to meet the challenge from China's 80-100 subs,Pak's 12-16,Oz's 12+,plus the 60+ subs possessed by Asian nations (Japan and SoKo alone will have 20+ each,apart from SPore,Malaysia,Vietnam,Indonesia and other new aspirants) not to mention S.Africa,Iran,etc.,and the US and western N-sub units stationed at Diego Garcia and other bases in the Asia-Pacific region.