Covid-19 impacted delivery schedule of submarines and aircraft to Navy: Shripad Naik

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the delivery schedule of the submarines and aircraft to the Indian Navy, the government said on Wednesday.

The Indian Navy has placed orders for 12 Dorniers, 16 Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH MK III) and eight Chetak helicopters. The force already had an order of six Scorpene class submarines and they are being built by the Mazagon Dock and Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) under Project-75.

In the aircraft sector, the deliveries have been delayed due to the supply chain disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“For submarines, the delays have been caused due to the various defects observed during the trials of the submarines, requirement of certain modifications and delays in the supply of items required for construction by the collaborator / ToT provider – Naval Group, France,” the said Minister of State (Defence ) Shripad Naik to a question asked by parliamentarian Ravindra Kushwaha and others in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

The minister also said that the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has further impacted the delivery schedule of the submarines.

He pointed out that the existing submarine fleet is being maintained combat-worthy through life extension, modernisation and upgradation.

Earlier this month, the Indian Navy commissioned its third Kalvari class submarine INS Karanj after a series of trials at the seas.

The new submarine INS Karanj will boost maritime capabilities with its sub surface to surface missiles, hi-tech sensors to neutralise threats, wire-guided torpedoes and quietness to add stealth launching attacks behind enemy lines.

The submarine made forays into the waters with its first sea sortie on June 2, 2018. After 100 days at the sea and clocking 1000 dived hours, the submarine is ready for use in its reincarnated form, coming a long way from the original version that started operations in 1969.

With INS Karanj, three of the six superior and advanced indigenous submarines based on the Scorpene class category under Project 75 are now functional. INS Kalvari was commissioned in 2017 and INS Khanderi in 2019.

While INS Vela is undergoing sea trials, INS Vagir was launched last year and the sixth one, INS Vagsheer, is under construction.