The diesel-electric INS Kursura, commissioned in 1969 at the Baltic Sea port city of Riga (at the time part of the Soviet Union, now the capital of Latvia), was the fourth Foxtrot class submarine to be inducted into the Indian Navy. The submarine was decommisioned in 2001 after serving for almost 31 years and later hauled to RK beach in Vizag and opened as a museum in 2002. It is one of the few Russian built Foxtrot class submarines on display to the public and one of a few submarine museums of its kind in the world. Kursura has a length of over 91 meters (20 m longer than a Boeing 747!). Her sheer size can be fully appreciated as she is placed on a pedestal on the beach.
Indian Navy Submarines
Because of India's substantial coastline totalling 7516.5 kms, submarines, as the third arm of the Indian Navy (seventh largest in the world), were perceived as an integral part in safeguarding India's maritime territory. The Indian Navy currently maintains a fleet of 16 submarines in two naval bases located at Vizag (INS Virbahu) and Mumbai (INS Vajrabahu). Vizag and Mumbai are the bases for the Eastern and Western Naval Commands respectively. A third base, INS Kadamba is envisaged to become the biggest navy port (covering an area of almost 45 km2) east of the Suez Canal when fully completed. The navy base, located at Karwar (northern tip of the Arabian Sea coast of Karnataka), will also have berthing facilities for submarines. Ten diesel-electric patrol submarines built by Germany's HDW (Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft), now part of Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems, form the backbone of India's submarine fleet. Submarine retrofitting is handled by Hindustan Shipyard at Vizag.
Indian Navy Submarine Fleet:
- Sindhughosh (Type 877EM, Kilo) - 9 nos, delivered between 1986-2000
- Shishumar (Type 209/1500) - 4 nos, delivered between 1984-1994
- Foxtrot - 2 nos, delivered 1973-1974
Future Submarine Inductions
The Indian Navy has ordered six diesel-electric DCNS Scorpène SSK class submarines being built at the Mazagon Dock located in Mumbai through a technology transfer tieup with DCNS/Navantia. The first submarine INS Kalvari is undergoing sea trials and is planned to be inducted in late 2016. A nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine was launched on July 26, 2009 at the naval dockyard in Vizag. The commissioning of the submarine will take place after extensive sea trials have been completed, possibly in 2016. The design of the ATV (Advanced Technology Vessel) submarine, INS Arihant (destroyer of enemies) is based on the Charlie-1 class submarine. The assembly of another ATV is underway. India is the sixth country to acquire a nuclear submarine. Another nuclear submarine, the INS Chakra (Akula class) is being operated under a long-term lease agreement with Russia.