Indian Naval Ship-Vela (INS Vela) is the fourth of the six stealth Scorpene-class submarine under Project 75 and was commissioned on November 25, 2021. It will form a part of the Western Naval Command's Submarine fleet and become another potent part of its arsenal.
According to Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, INS Vela is a potent platform with the ability to undertake the entire spectrum of submarine operations.
Three submarines under Project 75 - INS Kalvari, INS Khanderi, INS Karanj - have already been commissioned.
This Scorpene-class submarine was built in India by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited in Mumbai, in collaboration with France's Naval Group.
Naval tradition holds that warships inherit names from earlier, illustrious vessels. The Scorpenes have taken their names from the Foxtrot-class submarines that India bought from the Soviet Union, which were decommissioned.
The first four Foxtrots, commissioned between 1967-1969, were INS Kalvari, Khanderi, Karanj and INS Karsura. The second batch, commissioned between 1973-1975, included INS Vela, Vagir, Vagli and Vagsheer.
This INS Vela was launched into the water in 2019 and underwent rigorous tests and trials, both in the harbour and at sea, before delivery to the Indian Navy.
Given the dire shortage of submarines, the Navy welcome the INS Vela as against a requirement of 24 conventional submarines, the defence made do with just 13.
The contract was made in 2005 and required all six Scorpenes to be delivered by 2015. Due to time overruns, the cost overran as well, with the original Rs 18,798 crore cost of six Scorpenes going up to Rs 23,562 crore in 2019.
How INS Vela will help the Indian Navy
During wartime, the navy’s surface warships such as aircraft carriers and destroyers obtain “sea control” by dominating the ocean with sensors and firepower, whereas, the submarine fleet engages in “sea denial” by preventing the enemy from leaving the harbour, or entering Indian waters.
In a hypothetical conflict with China, Indian submarines would block the Chinese navy from crossing from the South China sea into the Indian Ocean. Meanwhile, in case of a war with Pakistan, these Scorpenes would operate in the shallow Arabian Sea, where large submarines cannot move freely.
A submarine’s key attribute is stealth since it can be torpedoed once detected. This is achieved by reducing noise from the engine and internal systems. INS Vela have a quiet “Permanently Magnetised Propulsion Motor” that drives it underwater at 20 knots (37 kmph), or 12 knots (22 kmph) when surfaced.
These submarines have a state-of-the-art SONAR and sensor suite permitting outstanding operational capabilities. They also have an advanced Permanent Magnetic Synchronous motor as its propulsion motor.
INS Vela: Features
Fitted with advanced weapons and sensors, INS Vela has all these integrated into the Submarine Tactical Integrated Combat System known as SUBTICS.
According to the Navy, once a target is classified, the submarine may choose to engage it using either her sea-skimming missiles or heavyweight wire-guided torpedoes.
The submarine's mascot is the Sub-ray, which is an amalgamation of the submarine and the stingray. The stingray is known for aggression and offensive power. Stingray's flat body allows it to sit on the bottom of the ocean and camouflage itself to predators.