Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gorshkov price to be finalised soon

India will receive Russian nuclear submarine shortly, says Navy Chief

NEW DELHI: Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta on Thursday said the Indian Navy would soon be receiving a Russian nuclear submarine, even as the programme to build French Scorpene submarines here was running behind schedule.

Addressing a press conference ahead of his last day in office on Monday, Admiral Mehta said the country would soon complete negotiations over the price of Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov (INS Vikramaditya) for possible delivery by 2012.

The arrival of the Gorshkov would augment the Navy’s quest to have three such warships in its fleet. Currently, it has INS Viraat, which has just undergone an extensive refit, and the third aircraft carrier is under construction at the Kochi shipyard.

Admiral Mehta also said the project of building the country’s indigenous nuclear submarine, which was heralded with INS Arihant, envisages constructing two more nuclear powered submarines.

The INS Arihant was launched for sea trials last month, and Admiral Mehta said India would soon have the proven delivery capability that would make the adversary “face far more damage than they can bear.”

The Navy Chief distanced himself from a report quoting senior Defence scientist K. Santhanam that the 1998 nuclear tests by India did not yield the desired results, adding that the country’s nuclear deterrent capabilities were “proven and capable enough.”

“As far as we are concerned, we go by the views of the scientists. They have given us certain capability and that is capable enough to provide deterrence and they are proven,” he said in response to questions about the capabilities of the country’s nuclear arsenal.

Admiral Mehta denied that the Navy grounded the entire fleet of Sea Harriers after the recent crash. He said a board of inquiry had been constituted to probe the incident, and checks were taking place on the remainder of the fleet that would be flying soon.

On Defence Minister A.K. Antony’s recent visit to the Maldives and reports of India setting up a base there, he said it was neither the policy nor the intention of the Government to set up naval bases overseas.

Reacting to his early comments on China’s naval dominance, Admiral Mehta clarified that while China is a power in the Indian Ocean region, he had never mentioned that its navy was more superior to India’s.

(Courtesy: THE HINDU)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Malaysia’s Scorpene-class submarine to call at Kochi

KOCHI: The Royal Malaysian Navy’s first submarine, the Scorpene-class KD Tunku Abdul Rahman, will make a port call here on Tuesday on its maiden voyage from Toulon in France to Sepanggar in Malaysia.

Coming as it does at a time when India is building six Scorpene-class submarines, through technology transfer, at the Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai, the visit gains significance for the Indian Navy. Fruitful interaction between both Navies will take place during the vessel’s stay.

KD Tunku Abdul Rahman is the first of the two Scorpene-class diesel-electric submarines ordered by the Malaysian Navy. Jointly built by French DCNS and Spanish Navantia, the submarine was formally handed over to it at a ceremony held at the French naval base in Toulon in late January.

On July 9, it began its homeward journey and called at Jeddah and Djibouti.

Full crew complement

After a three-day stopover here, it will depart for Lamut and Port Klang in Malaysia before surfacing at Sepanggar in Sabah in early September to be home-ported at the naval base there.

The submarine, captained by Commander Zulhelmi Ithnain, has a full complement of 31-member crew.

Sea trials

Malaysia signed the deal to acquire two Scorpene-class submarines in 2002, and KD Tunku Abdul Rahman, named after the country’s first Prime Minister, was launched in October 2007.

The year-long sea trials during which Black Shark heavyweight torpedoes and missiles were fired from it successfully ended in December last year.

The Royal Malaysian Navy will take delivery of its second submarine, KD Tun Razak, later this year.

(Courtesy: THE HINDU)