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French shipbuilder Naval Group has proposed a significant upgrade for the Indian Navy’s future submarine acquisitions. The company suggests that three of the planned Kalvari-class submarines, which are to be procured by the Indian Navy, should be equipped with advanced Lithium-Ion battery technology. This technology would provide these submarines with enhanced underwater endurance compared to the Lead Acid batteries used in the previous six Scorpene-class submarines manufactured in India by Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL).

The proposal from Naval Group aligns with the Indian Navy’s efforts to modernize its submarine fleet. It involves a shift from traditional Lead Acid batteries to Lithium-Ion battery packs. Additionally, the Indian Navy is collaborating with Indian private-sector battery manufacturers to develop and test Lithium-Ion battery packs that could replace Lead Acid batteries not only in the older Scorpene-class submarines but also in the ageing Kilo-class submarines.

Additional 3 Kalvari-class subs will also feature an Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) plug, developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The combination of Lithium-Ion batteries and the AIP plug offers multiple advantages, including greater endurance, reduced maintenance requirements, and an extended service life of up to 40%.

The Indian Navy’s plans for the older Kalvari-class submarines include retrofitting them with the Lithium-Ion + AIP configuration, starting in 2025 with the lead ship, INS Kalvari. By incorporating advanced technologies like Lithium-Ion batteries and AIP, the Indian Navy aims to enhance the capabilities of its submarines, ensuring they remain a formidable force in the region and continue to contribute to the country’s maritime security. The proposed upgrade is expected to strengthen India’s naval prowess and its ability to protect its maritime interests.

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