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The Indian Navy’s sixth and final Kalvari-class submarine, Vaghsheer, has embarked on its crucial sea trials. This significant milestone marks an important step in the Indian Navy’s quest to enhance its maritime capabilities. Looking ahead, the Indian Navy has proposed the procurement of three additional Kalvari-class submarines with a greater emphasis on indigenous content. These submarines will be manufactured by the State-owned Mazagon Docks Ltd (MDL), the same entity that produced the previous six submarines under license from the renowned French Naval Group.

While the prospect of acquiring more indigenous submarines is promising, the follow-up order does come with a potential cost increase. Considering inflation and various other factors, it is estimated that the cost of each submarine in the follow-up order may experience a significant 46 per cent surge. This cost adjustment reflects the evolving economic landscape and the intricacies involved in the production of advanced naval vessels.

To provide context, back in 2005, India procured six Scorpene submarines, which boasted cutting-edge technology but relied heavily on imported components. These submarines featured a combat management system and sensors that were more than 60 per cent sourced from overseas. The cost of each ship at that time was approximately $625 million.

However, with the new order of three follow-up submarines, several factors contribute to the projected increase in cost. Firstly, the price adjustment considers the impact of inflation on the overall production expenses. Additionally, the inclusion of the Air-independent propulsion (AIP) plug, which enhances the submarines’ operational capabilities, further contributes to the cost escalation.

Taking these factors into account, the estimated cost for each of the three follow-up submarines is expected to surpass $950 million. It is worth noting that if the Indian Navy decides to upgrade the internal combat management system and sensors of these submarines, the cost may approach the significant milestone of $1 billion. This budget would align closely with the funds allocated for the purchase of the initial six submarines under the P-75’I program.

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