Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Naval Group France have extended cooperation for entering into the detailed design phase for the integration of indigenous Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) in the Kalvari class.

In a major boost to Atmanirbhar Bharat, an initiative of the government, the Fuel Cell based AIP System of DRDO’s Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL) will soon be ready to be fitted onboard INS Kalvari.

AIP has a force multiplier effect on the lethality of a diesel-electric submarine as it enhances the submerged endurance of the boat, several folds. Fuel cell-based AIP has merits in performance compared to other technologies and is unique as the hydrogen is generated onboard.

This technology has been successfully developed by NMRL with the support of Indian industry partners and has now reached the stage of maturity for industrialization.

It is worth mentioning that the land-based prototype of the NMRL’s AIP has been tested successfully. This new endeavour between DRDO (NMRL) and Naval Group France will be a very significant step towards the detailed design certification of the energy module, which will be performed by NMRL along with the Indian industry and design of the platforms impacted by the integration of the indigenous AIP inside the Indian submarine by Naval Group.

These actions will seamlessly lead the way to the start of localization and industrialization of AIP including the hull fabrication by the Indian industry for future fitment on-board the submarines.

On this occasion, Pierre Eric Pommellet, Chairman and CEO at Naval Group congratulated the team by saying “We are very proud to cooperate with Indian stakeholders to safely integrate the DRDO AIP in the Kalvari class submarines built by MDL. This is a natural extension of strategic bilateral cooperation shared between France and India in the field of underwater defence and deterrence and in the spirit of the Naval Group’s continued commitment towards Atmanirbhar Bharat policy.”