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April 7, 2015

India's first Scorpene submarine INS Kalvari launched for sea trials


Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar witnessed a major milestone in the much-needed augmentation of India’s naval capabilities with the ‘undocking’ of INS Kalvari, the Scorpene-class submarine, in Mumbai on Monday. 
Parrikar, accompanied by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R.K. Dhowan, said that by 2020 all the six Scorpene submarines being built at the Mazagon Dock in collaboration with French firm DCNS will be ready to serve the nation. 
“Time is crucial factor in completion of defence projects. I would urge the PSUs to double their production capacities in three years and complete the project on or before time,” he said. 

He added that the Ministry of Defence will penalise firms for their failure to deliver the projects even by a day and reward them with a bonus if they are handed over before time. 
The first of Scorpenes was supposed to be commissioned in 2012. Parrikar blamed the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for not being serious about defence projects, particularly on the submarine front. 
“UPA had no review mechanism. The UPA government should have been more serious about the project,” he said. 
He urged Fadnavis and Mazagon Dock to take initiatives developing young people's skills in specialised fields that will helpful in the nation’s defence sector in the long-run. 
He said that he has urged all officers and workers of Mazagon Dock not to limit themselves to making ships for India, but raise their performance across the globe. 
“We are planning blue water navy, which will enable us to operate in deep waters without frequent visits to the harbour,” the minister said. 
Later, replying to queries on the series of naval mishaps witnessed in the past two years, Parrikar put the blame on not stringently following the Standard Operations Procedure. 
“In the past, there was relaxation mode while following SOPs. We have now increased accountability and improved the manner in which SOPs are followed. This is the reason mishaps have reduced,” he said. 
Speaking of the minor mishap involving INS Sindhughosh, whose periscope was damaged by a fishing vessel during a nocturnal exercise in February near Mumbai, Parrikar said that it was an accident that did not involve any human error on the part of naval officials. 
“The fishing vessel was not supposed to be there,” he said. 
The ‘undocking’ marks the movement of the submarine mounted on pontoons from the berth area in the dock to the harbour where it will undergo further tests. 
According to Mumbai Dockyard General Manager (QA) S.S. Maret, once the tests are successful, the submarine will separate from the pontoon and be launched in the waters in September this year. 
“If everything works out as per expectations, then it will be ready for commissioning by next year,” he said. 

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