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Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), an Indian shipyard, has announced plans to integrate the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation)-developed Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system on the first Kalvari class submarine, which is scheduled for completion and refit within the next two years.

The Kalvari class submarines are based on the renowned French Scorpène class submarines, which are widely exported and operated by countries such as Brazil, Chile, and Malaysia. However, the Kalvari class submarines currently do not possess an AIP system.

Sources familiar with the matter have revealed that Naval Group, a major player in naval defence, will assist Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in the integration of the AIP system. Furthermore, Naval Group will collaborate with MDL to promote this AIP module to existing customers.

Currently, India operates six Scorpene class submarines, while the remaining eight submarines of the same type are operated by the rest. In the past, France attempted to offer its French Module d’Energie Sous-Marine Autonome (MESMA) based AIP system to the current operators. However, it didn’t receive significant support as it relied on older technology. In contrast, the Naval Group is still in the process of developing hydrogen fuel cell AIP modules, similar to the one developed by DRDO.

The integration of the DRDO-developed AIP system on the Kalvari class submarines is a significant step for India in enhancing its submarine capabilities. The AIP system offers several advantages, including increased underwater endurance, reduced noise levels, and enhanced stealth capabilities. These advancements are crucial for maintaining a robust maritime defence and securing India’s strategic interests in the region.

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