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DRDO builds propulsion system, may be fitted into Scorpene submarines

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Paris, 16 Nov (PTI) : A DRDO-developed propulsion system, that enhances the underwater stay of conventional diesel-electric submarines, could be fitted in the last two Scorpene submarines India is building locally under transfer of technology from a French defence major.

The work on the Scorpene submarines is on at the Mazagaon Dock, Mumbai and the first of the six vessels is expected to enter service in late 2016.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)

developed air independent propulsion (AIP) system could be fitted in the last two submarines, but the plans could take some time to evolve into a final shape.

The original Scorpene maker, DCNS, says that it can put in place the indigenous system in the submarine.

The AIP enhances the underwater stay of conventional diesel-electric submarines. Normal diesel-electric submarines have to come up at periscope level every two days to recharge their batteries, making them easy prey of anti-submarine platforms on sea and in air.

Top DCNS officials told a group of visiting Indian journalists that the P75 (Scorpene) submarines are designed to be fitted, should this be required, with an AIP system.

In order to increase yet more the indigenous content of the P75 submarines, the company is working with DRDO to integrate the indigenous AIP solution in P75 submarines.

“Should the Indian Navy require such system, a fully indigenous AIP solution could be integrated on submarines 5 and 6 while respecting the existing timelines,” said Bernard Buisson, MD,DCNS India.

Philippe Berger, submarines operational marketing manager of DCNS, said without AIP, Scorpenes can stay underwater for four days.

He said the DCNS’ role is limited to integrating safely the DRDO-developed AIP to the submarine.

A generator set for the Scorpene under construction at Mazgaon dock is ready to be shipped by early next year. A clutch of heat transfer systems, which work as radiators, are also ready to be shipped to Mumbai in a few days in one of the company’s facilities in Nantez.

The French ship building company is also working on its own AIP system, a second-generation hydrogen fuel cell.

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