By Ajit K Dubey
Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], Feb 22 (ANI): In a major boost for the Navy's firepower, the Defence Ministry has approved acquisition of more than 100 heavyweight torpedoes which will be equipped on the force's six Scorpene-class submarines being built at Mazagon Dockyards in Mumbai.
"The proposal for acquiring heavyweight torpedoes for the submarines for the Indian Navy was cleared at a high-level meeting of the Defence Ministry and a tender is expected to be floated soon by the government in this regard," defence sources told ANI.
The French-origin Scorpene submarines are being built in India at Mazagon Dockyards Limited (MDL) and have now been named the Kalvari class. The first boat of the class called INS Kalvari has already been inducted into the Navy and is carrying out operational duties.
As per the details of the project, the immediate requirement of the Navy for heavyweight torpedoes will be met by the acquisition to be made through the foreign vendors while the long-term bulk requirement will be fulfilled through the Made in India route.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation is also looking forward to heavyweight torpedo as the next version of its light torpedoes for submarines and surface ships. Global manufacturers from France, Sweden, Russia and Germany are expected to respond to the tender requirements.
Italian firm Wass' Blackshark torpedoes had earlier been selected for the project, but the programme was cancelled due to involvement of scam-tainted Finmeccanica group in the VVIP chopper scam.
The nuclear fleet of Arihant class boats also require torpedoes. INS Arihant is the first indigenously-built and developed nuclear submarine of the Indian Navy which has successfully carried out a deterrence patrol in the Indian Ocean region.
The remaining five boats of the Kalvari class are expected to join the Indian Navy in next four to five years. The next boat in line is the INS Khanderi.