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In a promising development for India’s defence capabilities, the French Naval Group has joined hands with Indian private sector giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T) to work on the cutting-edge SOV-400 ‘midget submarine’ program. This collaborative effort aims to develop a versatile and highly efficient submarine optimized for Special Forces missions, catering to the needs of smaller navies. The SOV-400, with its advanced features and capabilities, has the potential to become a game-changer in the realm of naval warfare.

The SOV-400 is envisioned as a compact and agile submarine with a 400-ton displacement, designed to excel in Special Forces operations. With the ability to carry up to 10 Special Forces operators, this midget submarine offers unrivalled flexibility and adaptability for covert missions. Notably, the lower hull of the SOV-400 can accommodate two 4-person Swimmer Delivery Vehicles (SDVs), allowing for rapid insertion and extraction of Special Forces units.

To ensure formidable offensive capabilities, the SOV-400 can be armed with two 533mm (21″) heavyweight torpedoes, which are carried externally. This weapon configuration empowers the submarine to engage both surface vessels and submerged threats, bolstering its effectiveness in a range of combat scenarios.

The development of the SOV-400 is an in-house initiative of Larsen & Toubro, driven by the company’s commitment to strengthening India’s naval capabilities. At Defence Expo 2022, Larsen & Toubro officials emphasized that they have no plans to commence production of the SOV-400 unless there is interest shown by the Indian Navy or any potential export customers.

The extent of cooperation between the French Naval Group and Larsen & Toubro is yet to be disclosed publicly. However, it is expected that the collaboration involves technical consultancy from the French side, leveraging their expertise in submarine design and construction. This partnership is likely to contribute significantly to the successful realization of the SOV-400 program.

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