Indian Naval News & Discussion - 12 Oct 2013

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Singha
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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Singha » 26 Feb 2014 18:44

btw a US DDG51 ship sent into the black sea as operational reserve for a Sochi olympic situation ran aground when attempting to moor at a turkish port last week.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Cosmo_R » 26 Feb 2014 19:02

Singha wrote:btw a US DDG51 ship sent into the black sea as operational reserve for a Sochi olympic situation ran aground when attempting to moor at a turkish port last week.


That's what happens when you get your moors and turks mixed up

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby chackojoseph » 26 Feb 2014 19:03

Singha wrote:yes Adm D K Joshi has resigned.

probably DefMin might have asked for his resignation...tomorrow it will be clear.


I just learn't that it was the case. Scapegoat wanted. I doubt that it will be official line.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby chetak » 26 Feb 2014 19:19

harbans wrote:Inability to gas free completely before welding or gas works tend to cause a large number of accidents. Many welding teams are completely incogniscant of ship or submarine board systems. Sometimes it's just a tack kind of weld or simple gas cutting act that probably would take a few seconds. 999 times out of 1000 nothing should happen. It's that 1 in 1000 that is the problem. That's why following laid procedures is extremely important when dealing with repair works on board ships or subs. An enquiry should investigate both present procedures in use and if adequate whether laid procedures and clearances were adequately obtained.


The welders working at the Naval Dockyard are all professionally trained, qualified, certified, rigidly examined and validated to laid down technical standards at regular periodic intervals. This is the procedure as long as they continue to work in shipyards.

However, many of these guys pickup very high paying jobs at commercial shipyards, both in India and the gulf.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Pratyush » 26 Feb 2014 20:11

it is sad but not totally unexpected.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby harbans » 26 Feb 2014 20:24

The welders working at the Naval Dockyard are all professionally trained, qualified, certified, rigidly examined and validated to laid down technical standards at regular periodic intervals. This is the procedure as long as they continue to work in shipyards.


True, but few realize that post major retrofitting, trials, during hastily arranged repairs when working to harsh deadlines shortcuts are made or at the minimum the temptations to take them exist. Welders and gas cutters themselves do not issue gas free certificates and depend upon others to do the same. So however good their skills accidents may happen if the certification process is not followed to the T.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby member_20067 » 26 Feb 2014 22:20

I just hope this is not again a total loss --- but surely it will dent a big blow to the level of confidence among the sailors over the serviceability and operation safety--- which is not good..

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Mihir » 26 Feb 2014 22:23

This report is from the time of the Sindhurakshak Explosion:

http://www.firstpost.com/india/sindhura ... 32219.html

10.48 am: Second submarine, INS Sindhuratna also damaged in explosion

The explosion and fire aboard the INS Sindhurakshak has also damaged another submarine that was berthed next to the ill fated vessel at the Mumbai naval dockyard. The second submarine has now been identified as the INS Sindhuratna, reported Headlines Today.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby chackojoseph » 27 Feb 2014 14:14

Shore-based Test Facility (STBF) opening postponed.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Philip » 28 Feb 2014 09:06

Hindu Editorial.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editori ... elatedNews

Looming military breakdown
In a nation where instances of admission of individual responsibility are depressingly rare, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral D.K. Joshi’s resignation following the tragic accident on INS Sindhuratna is welcome evidence that some officials, at least, still hold themselves to the highest standards. Behind his resignation, though, lies a terrifying story: India’s military is, literally, on the verge of breakdown. In recent years, each military chief has told Defence Minister A.K. Antony of the growing danger that India might prove unable to fight future wars. Even as the Army has been instructed to be prepared to fight a war on two fronts, acquisitions of desperately needed armour and artillery systems have been endlessly delayed. The Air Force is warning that its combat fleet will start shrinking from 2017; squadrons are rationing flying time to prolong the life of aircraft for as long as possible. The Navy is well below strength, and its increasingly obsolescent platforms are dangerous. Last year’s explosion on board INS Sindhurakshak, one of 10 significant accidents involving the Navy in the last seven months, caused more damage than the Navy ever suffered at war. Perhaps most dangerous, all three services face large-scale deficits of officers, because the armed forces’ pay scales and service conditions are too poor to attract the skilled young people modern militaries need. There are more than a few in the armed forces who are asking whether the civilian leadership is not just as responsible for the deaths on board the Sindhuratna as Admiral Joshi, whose resignation the Union government was so quick to accept.

Though Mr. Antony’s years in office have seen him maintain his stellar reputation for personal probity — which is no mean achievement in itself — he has done little to address the looming crisis in Indian defence. Equipment purchases have stalled at the whiff of scandal, often forcing the forces to restart the acquisition process, that can last years. In fairness to Mr. Antony, the problem is not all of his making. The depreciation of the rupee against the dollar, and India’s slowing growth, have stripped him of resources badly needed for modernisation. Yet, there is no glossing over the fact that too little has been done on defence reform and capacity-building. India can only hope it is not too late. The last Indian military chief to hand in his resignation was General K.S. Thimayya, who did so in 1959 to protest Defence Minister V.K. Krishna Menon’s refusal to consider his plans to prepare the Army for a war with China. Prime Minister Nehru persuaded the legendary General to take back his resignation, but chose not to persuade his Defence Minister to take the threat of war seriously. The consequences still haunt India.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby ramana » 28 Feb 2014 09:36

chackojoseph wrote:Shore-based Test Facility (STBF) opening postponed.

Is Anthony ready to resign?

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby member_26622 » 28 Feb 2014 10:51

A bunch of articles about diminishing submarine strength is followed by a string of submarine accidents. We have lost 1 kilo submarine and now have 2 needing serious repairs. At the same time, France wants us to buy more of their 1 Billion plus gold plated, diamond tipped Scorpenes and Russians want to lease out more Nuke submarines for a billion plus again. Really, what are the odds of this happening in a matter of months ?. No foul play still ?

Everyone saw how we cram our subs next to each other in Mumbai. Why can't the Navy get over their fascination of been in Mumbai and get some better accommodations in an affordable place? Seriously, the naval docks are right next to the Taj, the most expensive hotel in India. And on top of that, building ships in Mumbai >> Why can't we move everything to a more reasonable cost and larger dockyard. Less chance of corruption when you are 'not' in an neighborhood where even a toilet costs 1 crore !

Let's double down and build more indigenous subs. If we can build a nuclear sub then how difficult it is to build a diesel one ? Otherwise, we will keep on importing and blowing up these babies. I am willing to go without subs for next 10 years if that is what it takes ! JUST SAY NO TO IMPORTS !

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby NRao » 28 Feb 2014 11:40

Though Mr. Antony’s years in office have seen him maintain his stellar reputation for personal probity


Hmmmmm.........

What an achievement.

An island of cleanliness.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby amol » 28 Feb 2014 11:47

I hereby rename him Nero. Busy fiddling while the subs burn.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Aditya_V » 28 Feb 2014 13:09

In what way is Anthony tenure or intergrity been better than George Fernandes, In fact Anthony lets politcal vendetta get in the way of defence purchases like Barak-1 and framing Adm Sushil Kumar.

Apart from hundreds of questionable delays and decesions in Anthony's tenure.

I would still say if there way a saint it was George Fernandes.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Lalmohan » 28 Feb 2014 13:12

fernandes got more done for sure

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby srin » 28 Feb 2014 14:03

Sheer competency-wise, hard to beat GF. He didn't hide behind babus. He even had a few visit Siachen when didn't approve cold weather gear.

Just really sad that his innings ended on a corruption charges, none of them proven.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Will » 28 Feb 2014 17:56

amol wrote:I hereby rename him Nero. Busy fiddling while the subs burn.



:rotfl:

If he had any shame left , AKA would at least issue the RFP for the P75i's now.

A few visits to Siachen and sending babus there don't make G Fernandes a good defence minister. Remember it was him that forced the scorpene down the INs throat instead of sanctioning the indigenous submarine design that the IN wanted. Even worse sacked one of the most brilliant chiefs of the IN , Vishnu Bhagwat. Rumours have it VB refused to turn a blind eye to Burmese rebel gun running in the Andamans. India has been unfortunate to have one incompetent DM after another. :((
Last edited by SSridhar on 01 Mar 2014 07:35, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Will, one rotfl is enough. Too many are an eye-sore

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby dinesha » 28 Feb 2014 20:04

‘Vaarunastra’ trials likely later this year
http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/new ... 736777.ece
VISAKHAPATNAM, FEB 28:
The prestigious heavy weight torpedo 'Vaarunastra' designed and developed by the Naval Science and Technology Laboratory (NSTL) here is set to undergo evaluation trials later this year.

It has already completed the technology trials and would be handed over to the Indian Navy for user evaluation trials (UET), according to V. Bhujanga Rao, Director-General - Naval Systems and Materials, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). He was speaking on the sidelines of the National Science Day celebrations organised at Andhra University Department of Physics here on Friday. He said it would take at least one year after the UET for it to go into production.

The 1,500 kg heavy weight torpedo would be manufactured at the Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) facility here. The BDL team was observing the development and assembly of the prototypes at the Talwar facility at the NSTL. The concurrent engineering would help the BDL assimilate the technology faster and take it to production line after transfer of technology with little lead time, he explained.

The BDL facility was producing the light weight Tal torpedoes for the Indian Navy. The Navy was evincing interest in the other prestigious project of the NSTL – underwater autonomous vehicle – and the NSTL would be able to go ahead with the project only after an official confirmation from the Navy.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby srin » 28 Feb 2014 20:11

Will wrote:
amol wrote:I hereby rename him Nero. Busy fiddling while the subs burn.



:rotfl:

If he had any shame left , AKA would at least issue the RFP for the P75i's now.

A few visits to Siachen and sending babus there don't make G Fernandes a good defence minister. Remember it was him that forced the scorpene down the INs throat instead of sanctioning the indigenous submarine design that the IN wanted. Even worse sacked one of the most brilliant chiefs of the IN , Vishnu Bhagwat. Rumours have it VB refused to turn a blind eye to Burmese rebel gun running in the Andamans. India has been unfortunate to have one incompetent DM after another. :((



You get some things right and you get some wrong. Barak-1 turned out to be a good decision because Trishul just wasn't ready. From what I've read and i'd love to read more, sacking of Vishnu Bhagwat was a justified decision. And lastly, without having any submarine industry, our own submarine development would have been in huge doldrums (like developing LCA) and so he had to go for the Scorpene because TSP had Agostas. Hindsight being 20/20, we can now debate about the delays etc. You also missed Gorshkov, which also turned out to be too-good-to-be-true contract, again in hindsight. Justifiable at that time, because our ADS (now IAC) was still on drawing board.

But the service chiefs are on record saying they had direct access to him and that he sided more with the service chiefs and kept babus at bay.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Philip » 28 Feb 2014 21:38

X-posted in the SR issue td.The SRatna sailed with 200 expired batteries.The new batteries acquisition was held up ...where else...at the MOD.This was confirmed by senior naval officers to the HT channel. It reiterates what the Hindu has reported.

Surely the chief responsible is not Adm.Joshi,but the MOD chief,the "Saint,who should be court martialled instead!

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Will » 28 Feb 2014 21:58

srin wrote:

You get some things right and you get some wrong. Barak-1 turned out to be a good decision because Trishul just wasn't ready. From what I've read and i'd love to read more, sacking of Vishnu Bhagwat was a justified decision. And lastly, without having any submarine industry, our own submarine development would have been in huge doldrums (like developing LCA) and so he had to go for the Scorpene because TSP had Agostas. Hindsight being 20/20, we can now debate about the delays etc. You also missed Gorshkov, which also turned out to be too-good-to-be-true contract, again in hindsight. Justifiable at that time, because our ADS (now IAC) was still on drawing board.

But the service chiefs are on record saying they had direct access to him and that he sided more with the service chiefs and kept babus at bay.


I'll give you that GF did try to keep the babus at arms length or at least that was the perception. The two most horrible things that the British did to India were 1) Partition and 2) Leaving us straddled with an elephant called 'babudom". The first we accepted and moved on. The 2nd is a stone around our neck .


On the indigenous submarine design. If a go ahead had been given to it. Like the LCA maybe today it would have been a reality or we would have had one by the time the first scorpene is supposed to be out. If we can build a nuke submarine I don't see why we cant build a conventional one.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 01 Mar 2014 07:38

Even today, private dockyards like L&T built with the expectation of naval orders are languishing without any.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 01 Mar 2014 07:41

Image
The Varunastra torpedo.— Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam, Photo Courtesy The Hindu

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Aditya_V » 01 Mar 2014 12:07

GF biggest contribution to Navy was the decesion to develop Karwar forcefully after years of neglect.

Can anyone explain the following sentence n the link about Varunastra


Varunastra ready for trials

The NSTL has earlier developed autonomous underwater vehicles - TAL (light water torpedo), and Takshak (heavy weight torpedo). Varunastra carries the Takshak


One comment, not an expert, I always assumed when talking of 533mm, we were talking of diameter of the Torpedo tubes. Looking at Varunastra in the pic Sridhar has posted, its diameter looks bigger than 533 mm

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Singha » 01 Mar 2014 13:02

the blunt front end is deceptive. compare to the people standing near the props here http://img651.imageshack.us/img651/2388 ... 201235.jpg

making a bigger torp is simply going to kill its chances of deployment in existing boats and need special tubes and handling racks in new P75 type projects.


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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby vic » 01 Mar 2014 18:09

For the Waitress, Congis buy Rs 10,000 crore worth of Helos but want to save money on buying batteries for the Subs.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Aditya_V » 01 Mar 2014 19:06

Coming to size of Varunastra, links on the web state it is meant to be fit in 533mm tubes, I guess it might be around ~.5 metre in diameter, I was first aquainted in the size of torpedoes when I visted Vizag in 2002 and saw the size of 8meter torpedos used in the Foxtrot class.

Any idea what is going to be the fuel for Varunastra, is it going to be electrically driven by Batteries?

If wishes were horses, I wish Brahmos could fit in those 533mm tubes, may be atleast Bramhos-M

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby manjgu » 01 Mar 2014 19:34

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/indi ... 225807.cms

GSAT being used for naval excercises !!

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Philip » 02 Mar 2014 14:32

irrelevant post deleted. nothing to do with IN.
Last edited by Rahul M on 02 Mar 2014 22:00, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: user warned.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Amitabh » 02 Mar 2014 15:23

srin wrote:Sheer competency-wise, hard to beat GF. He didn't hide behind babus. He even had a few visit Siachen when didn't approve cold weather gear.

Just really sad that his innings ended on a corruption charges, none of them proven.

I know many folks here love GF but this is what TN Ninan has to say in Exposed Defence:

The flawed acquisition process and long delays in domestic production have meant that even meagre weapons budgets have often gone unspent; the shortfalls have ranged from 10 per cent to 30 per cent, with George Fernandes being the biggest culprit even as he posed as the jawans' hero.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Aditya_V » 02 Mar 2014 17:55

Yes he returned funds back since deals were not concluded in Budgets, but GF got a lot of things started(LCA, Agni, Brahmos, SU-30 HAL orders, Arjun 124 order, Desi Awacs, Nuclear command etc.), Anthony and his predecessor, rather than stopping much of the good work he had done for political reasons ( Barak-1, Nalanda 155mm shell manufacture,Denel contracts) could have continued.

GF may not have been perfect, but the last 10 years have been far worse. Anthony may spent defense money but he has generally favoured certain questionable deals like Agusta westland, Bulk of T-90 orders, C-130's, M-4 carbines, Baretta submachine guns, pretty expensive Asraams etc.

All this based on public domain stuff, and guess which side are the defence personal who know much more than us being literally forced to give up thier Apolitical views. Why are they commenting when ideally I think the last thing they want to do is comment is Politicans.

Truth is neither is GF a Money bag the media (telhelka(now Kapil Sibal has admitted he ghas given money to them), MSM maintained) nor is Anthony any where close to a Saint.

It is time to give him his due.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Kersi D » 02 Mar 2014 21:48

habal wrote:using western components in Russian subs seems to be recipe for disaster. IN shouldn't get too ambitious and use western electronics in these subs. Or else arms dealers inveigling themselves into Naval components contracts can also mean compromise of naval systems security.


All our Indian built shipsa have a mix of Western and Russian and Indian sensors and weaponry.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Viv S » 03 Mar 2014 03:59

Aditya_V wrote:GF may not have been perfect, but the last 10 years have been far worse. Anthony may spent defense money but he has generally favoured certain questionable deals like Agusta westland, Bulk of T-90 orders, C-130's, M-4 carbines, Baretta submachine guns, pretty expensive Asraams etc.


The questions in the Agusta Westland deal as I understand it pertain primarily to the technical specifications for the contract which would have been the IAF/SPG's purview. Antony is to blame for not running cleaner department but the galling part really was the need for 'VVIP' helicopters in the first place, for which the blame needs to be ladled out around the GoI (and elsewhere).

The C-130J purchase was hardly questionable. The original order was a plain requirement and the follow-on option had an expiration date attached. T-90s - again had Antony been a more dynamic minister he'd have ensured that the Arjun be pushed through, but the primary responsibility here lies with the army brass. M4; very small order likely specific to the SF. Beretta; BSF under MHA purview. ASRAAMs; chosen by IAF because of its 'snap up' capability to add to which it had already been integrated on the Jaguar though never operationalised.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Viv S » 03 Mar 2014 05:02

I may be in the minority here but I'm not altogether unhappy with the general direction affairs have taken, albeit not through any conscious effort by the AK Antony. Through sheer sloth the MoD has ended up given domestic programs a leg up.

While the shortages in ammunition and infantry kit are absolutely unacceptable as is the continued reliance on OFB & similar parties' shoddy output, especially at the expense of the private sector, the delays in the foreign acquisitions will likely work out to be a positive in the long run.

Artillery; hugely delayed but at least domestic types finally under development.

Armored Vehicles; T-90 production reportedly stagnating. Hope for the Arjun.

MMRCA; Hope for the Tejas. Fingers crossed.

Light Helicopters; Push to expedite LUH development.

There are still other deals that ought to be scrapped like the follow-on Krivak/Talwar class for example (expand Shivalik production to private shipyards). I wouldn't be too disappointed if they cancelled the AH-64D deal as well. Between the PGMs delivered by LCHs & strike fighters, NLOS missiles fired from MBTs & NAMICAs and MILANs & Javelin/Spikes employed by the infantry, it really is serving more of a niche role (though it can soak up an impressive amount of battle damage).



Over to the submarine issue. While the fleet is in woeful condition, I'm yet to hear a convincing explanation of why the second-line of submarines are so essential. There's a lot of pointing towards China having X number of subs or Pakistan acquired Y number, but that ignores a basic issue - subs aren't the best means to hunt other subs. Expanding the P-8I fleet and pushing through a MRMR aircraft acquisition would be the proper response, not adding more subs to the equation.

Its a different thing when there is an imposing surface fleet that can't be met headon, whether it was for the Germans in WWII, Soviets in the Cold War or Pakistan & China today. As long as we're not going to war with the US, the IN and IAF between them can comfortably handle any surface threat in the IOR. Pakistan's surface fleet consists really of just four small frigates. The Chinese fleet is more imposing but can be checked in the Malacca and Sunda straits itself for at least another two decades.

The two roles that remain are operating in the South China Sea and supporting the IN's surface fleet. Trouble is SSKs are essential ambush predators, lacking the sustained speed required for an offensive role or to keep up with a battle group on the surface. Both tasks call for an SSN.

Assuming the IN wouldn't want to put all their eggs in one basket, it might make sense to acquire an additional 3 to 6 AIP-equipped Scorpenes (which would also serve to mollify the French in the event of a formal Rafale cancellation). But on the face of it, another MMRCA style competition for 6 SSKs would appear to be a bad decision.


The apprehension is that the next government will in a surge of decisiveness sign away all pending deals with the real price paid by the domestic industry. I hope they spending adequate time in deliberation and back our indigenous programs instead.

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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Philip » 03 Mar 2014 08:12

RAdm. Menon is echoing what we've been saying on BR for aeons,that we should concentrate upon building more N-subs,while augmenting our weakened numbers with extra subs from Russia.That is if our myopic mannquins in the NEA/MOD can think beyond the beaches and islands of India.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/si ... 743661.ece
Sindhuratna and beyond

Raja Menon

Submarining has always been a dangerous profession, meant only for volunteers drawn from serving navy personnel. It is also a relatively young man’s profession, with commanding officers of conventional submarines going “over the top” in their late thirties, into staff jobs. The selection is strict and the training rigorous. New entrants are carefully screened in psychological tests to survive in close proximity, under difficult conditions, with other human beings, for long periods of time. Not surprisingly, the camaraderie is close and submariners make friends for life.

The Indian submarine service commissioned its first submarine in 1967 and the pioneers realised the imperative of laying down the strictest standards of safety right at the beginning. The explosion on Sindhurakshak occurred in 2013, after years of accident-free service. The Sindhuratna fire, close on the heels of the earlier explosion, poses a huge leadership challenge to senior naval officers in assuring serving submarine personnel that their weapon platforms are reliable weapons to fight with. The “Kilo,” as these submarines are referred to in the West, and “Project 877” in Russia, are formidable weapon platforms, but have a reputation for being difficult to operate. They were the first submarines to be acquired, covered fully by anechoic rubber tiles and had a reputation for running silently in combat.
Cry of despair

The Indian Navy never fielded a “Kilo” in joint naval exercises with other navies for precisely that reason and their reputation remains an undisclosed secret. Their role in war in South Asia is all the more formidable being armed with supersonic land attack missiles that can be used punitively or to influence the course of events on land.

If submarining is a demanding profession, it is partly because a submarine emergency is truly a terrible event, particularly when it occurs in a submerged submarine. The Sindhuratna faced such an event a hundred miles west of Mumbai, and put into practice the hours of drilling that submarine crews undergo, while dealing with emergencies. The “Kilo” has a high resistance to flooding and fire as it is divided into watertight compartments. A damage control drill requires a damaged compartment to be “isolated” and the unspoken anxiety is, of course, the fate of the crew who are isolated. In Sindhuratna’s case, all the events are yet to be clarified, but it seems that two officers, both with brilliant service records, pushed the sailors out of the stricken compartment, and shut the compartment on themselves to fight the fire. Both succumbed to the fumes in an act of cold-blooded gallantry. The Sindhuratna survived the fire and will be back in service in a few months, but the Navy’s front line strength of submarines will be depleted.

The accident raises issues that go beyond the gallantry and competence exhibited by the crew of the submarine. The resignation of a serving chief, with more than 15 months of residual service, is a traumatic event for the service.

It is normally not only an act of honourable exit but a cry of despair, signalling to the service and the government that he was not permitted to hold himself to the same standards as those he demanded from his officers.

Since 1952, the services have laboured under a dysfunctional government
“Rules of Business” which declares that the Ministry of Defence, under the secretary, is responsible for the Defence of India — not the armed forces, and certainly not the chiefs. Under this excuse, the services have the accountability; the Ministry has the power to create innumerable hurdles in the path of each service getting financial approval for anything from a battery to a ship. There is good reason to believe that the Sindhuratna was operating with over-aged batteries which give off vast amounts of explosive hydrogen, because the replacement batteries were held up in contractual red tape. The Board of Inquiry will bring out the truth but is unlikely to apportion blame to the Ministry of Defence, whose lackadaisical performance has crippled more than one armed service in the past.
Series of delays

Questions arise that can only be answered by persons well above the level of the service Board of Inquiry, headed by a Rear Admiral. Why was the Navy forced into operating a 26-year-old submarine with over-aged batteries? Because the replacement submarines — the Scorpène class French-origin submarines — were six years in the choosing under Defence Minister A.K. Antony, and were thereafter delayed by another four years contractually on account of the Ministry’s decision-making.

The Chief of the Navy has taken full “moral” responsibility, but his act is more a cry of despair that he has been unable to represent the interests of his service with an unresponsive and callous ministry which has been warned repeatedly by the Naval Headquarters of the depleting force levels of submarines in the Navy. The government had, many years back, approved the Navy’s plans for a 24-submarine force as the ideal. Considering that in peacetime, no more than 60 per cent of submarines can be kept operational, the levels today have fallen to parlous numbers. In past instances, the resignation of a service chief has prodded unresponsive governments into reviewing its policies and procedures. In the Indian case, the Naresh Chandra committee report is still in limbo, according to the same Ministry of Defence.
Going nuclear

What can be done by the government to honour the sacrifice of Admiral D.K. Joshi and not merely send him on pension? Building of the Scorpène class is in progress but six submarines will join the Navy only by 2022. An immediate step could be the acquisition of two more nuclear submarines of the Akula class on lease from Russia. The Russians were willing to lease another submarine in any case following the handing over of the INS Chakra, but considering the good relationship between the Russian and Indian navies it might be possible to persuade President Putin to part with two more Akulas, until the Indian indigenous building project catches up. The only major navies still operating conventional submarines are China and Japan. The others have shifted to an all-nuclear submarine force and India should go down the same route. In the vast reaches of the Indian Ocean, the slow pace of transit of conventional submarines make them a liability, which can only be overcome by acquiring larger numbers. A far more elegant solution is the nuclear propelled SSN, which is normally twice as expensive as a conventional submarine but is far more effective than two conventional boats.

The indigenous route to nuclear SSNs is some years away since SSNs require more powerful reactor plants than the missile-armed Arihant. India’s submarine community also needs to arrive at an intellectual consensus on the merits of transiting to an all nuclear submarine force and communicating that decision to the government. The government on its part needs to help the Indian shipbuilding industry and the Department of Atomic Energy by looking for strategic partnerships involving the building of nuclear propelled submarines — an activity not under the purview of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In the decades to come, the Navy will become the prime service as India dumps its anxieties over territorial integrity and pursues its global self-interest. The Navy must also shift its strategic thinking from antiquated ideas of coastal defence and a Karachi blockade to an oceanic maritime strategy that is in line with India’s status in the region and its interests overseas. A good beginning was the seminar on nuclear submarines conducted in Visakhapatnam by the Commander-in-Chief to help the submarine community come to grips with future submarine policy. The Navy must now speak with one voice in favour of nuclear submarines.

(Raja Menon retired as Rear Admiral in the Indian Navy.)


"A far more elegant solution is the nuclear propelled SSN, which is normally twice as expensive as a conventional submarine but is far more effective than two conventional boats."
The point I continue to make about the cost of a (non-AIP) Scorpene,(whose price escalates at the cost of 1 crore per day!)-almost equal to that of an Akula-2!

Singha
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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby Singha » 03 Mar 2014 08:27

the worrying part is the report says there is no spare set of batteries in reserve (and norm was to have just 1 set for 10 kilos!) and manufacturing them takes 2 years from order placement!!

so even if the PO was signed this week, does it mean all our subs need to manage with potentially expired batteries ?

scrapping the VVIP deal funds would permit keeping 5 sets of reserve batteries on land so that any malfunctioning subset or an entire set can be promptly replacement before expiry.

rohitvats
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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby rohitvats » 03 Mar 2014 14:01

^^^Nitin Gokhale on twitter reported that Sindhuratna was running on batteries taken from another Kilo submarine which is undergoing refit; further, the fire broke out in the cabling and not in the batteries. On top of it, the fellow who muscled his way in for being given a chance for providing submarine batteries was found to have a product which did not meet requirement.

chetak
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Re: Indian Naval Discussion

Postby chetak » 03 Mar 2014 14:04

rohitvats wrote:^^^Nitin Gokhale on twitter reported that Sindhuratna was running on batteries taken from another Kilo submarine which is undergoing refit; further, the fire broke out in the cabling and not in the batteries. On top of it, the fellow who muscled his way in for being given a chance for providing submarine batteries was found to have a product which did not meet requirement.


This is another open secret.

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