IDF VIEWS Indian military jumping up a notch on the world scale by 2020-21 and IDF salutes the IAF on its 87th birthday which displayed its might in clear skies at Hindon. But the Chiefs, PSOs there, and MOD in South Block should be worried as Indian economy is down and no money means no new big defence spending. Yet if you cut your coat better to India’s military cloth much can be done with tri service energy and weaponry. It is said NSA and soon a CDS will do that in earnest but time does not wait in this era. Bringing normalcy in Kashmir is consuming energy of decision makers as Trump confirms IDF view that USA China trade war is actually a technology war to throttle China and India has to decide where its stands on that. PM Modi will discuss that with President Xi Jinping in Mallampuram. The world and IDF is watching with hopes of ‘Acche Din with China’, to settle Pakistan down in a India China deal when leaders meet. India needs investment too and China needs a market! Can the two meet ?
This then is an overall IDF Dusshera Vijaydhasmi greetings with a Puja analysis of how many conventional diesel and how many nuclear submarines India should aspire for as building submarines is time consuming and it is based on the premise that France, UK and USA have no conventional diesel submarines—and China and Russia are balancing their Order of Battle (ORBAT) with less diesel submarines and exporting them to Bangla Desh (Mings) and Pakistan (Yuans) and Thailand and Kilos to Vietnam and Myamar and increasing their own number of nuclear submarines. Navy did a coup for Russia as the Kilo INS Sindhukriti with Indian crew is getting ready to be given to Myanmar. Good ‘out of the box’ thinking Navy is known for !
Hence today Pakistan Navy is not so much of a concern in case of a war as much is the PLA(Navy) in the years ahead dominating India’s parish. The P8is have come as a boost to the Indian Navy’s power with Mk 84 Harpoons and Mk 48 Torpedoes and the BrahMos and Barak 8 LR SAMs and M/F Star radars on ships with reliable gas turbines that do not fail. The Mig-29Ks are settling in on INS Vikramaditya. The IAF with induction of Rafales and its IACC and AWACS with slaved BVR Meteor 130 km and Scalp 300 km .8 Mach cruise missiles will see IAF as a juggernaut in the air. This is time the synergy of India’s Air Sea Strategy needs thinking by both services as Army seems confident with its IBGs concept tried out in Exercise Him Vijay. EAM Jaishankar Subrahmanyam has come as a breath of fresh air in Foreign policy as that is in his DNA. India needs that in Defence too.
The IAF’s future Order of Battle (ORBAT) by 2021 will get augmented with world class inductions which includes 36 Rafales from France. RM Rajnath Singh took the first four Rafale jets from 57 year old Madam Florence Parly in an induction ceremony at Merignac airfield near Boudreaux and had a joy ride too. The 22 Apache-64E attack helicopters are replacing the Mi25/35s, some sent to Afghanistan and 16 Chinook-47C heavy lift helicopters from USA off the shelf buys with the full range of latest electronics and weaponry have started arriving to Trump’s and Boeing’s joy. Chinooks will fly the 155mm light howitzers and troops in case of need like in Depsang or Sumdorong Chu or Doklam. The IAF will also induct the S 400 Triumf Anti Missile AA batteries from 2020 and the 21 MiGs 29Ks that Algeria did not buy in a basement price will also arrive to Putin’s joy.PM Modi and PMO need kudos and ACM BS Dhanoa for the conduct of the massive war exercise Gagan Shakti with few hundred flying machines and AA systems tested like in Brasstacks of yore. Almost one third of the air force employed the Air Force Network (AFNet). But the IAF money bill is staring at MOD which needs study so Navy must think deeply as it Makes in India and has to pay inflated prices for last Project 28 and P-15Bs !.
Indian Navy has to debate its choices looking at the future trends, costs, especially as India’s tryst with submarine programmes has been a story of lost opportunities and the nation should not lose another. In the 1990s India became a Submarine builder and almost became an exporter but after two submarines built at MSDL, the HDW scandal put paid to Navy’s ambitions to have more Indian built submarines. The first few Kilos and some on barter came as a stopgap and MOD refused to heed Navy’s 30 year submarine building programme that stated 12 from East and 12 from West approved in 1998. Nothing moved so more Kilos came and kept going back to Russia for refits. HSL and Navy refitted and converted INS Sindhukriti over years to fire Klub missiles but no one took note. Vested interests it is said.
Only in 2006 the 6 plus 6 Scorpene on option was signed and eleven years later INS Kalvari in 2017 and two years after INS Khanderi were commissioned without proper torpedoes and that SUT B will be used. So the question do we need a new RFP for 12 more diesel submarines or few more Scorpenes upgraded with AIP and get on with four Submarine Submerged Nuclear SSN under water machines at same cost as the SSBM INS Arihant with K-15/B-05 missiles has been proved and the next Arigahat is said to have many advancements in reactor and other design issues and will commission in 2021.
This IDF post is based on 37 pages of https://fas.org/nuke/guide/india/sub/ssn/part01.htm on India’s nuclear submarine programme, and Capt Terenov’s two books and the many open and Chatham House rules seminars IDF has attended in India and abroad to appreciate India’s amazing nuclear programme also alluded to in the book Warring Nuclear Navies.
IDF laments that unlike China (more writings in Chinese language on Chinese nuclear submarines ), India has not disclosed much on the amazing work done by the Navy’s ATV, WEESE and DGND, Larsen &Toubro Ltd (LTD), BARC, DRDO, BEL. ECIL, Walchandnagar Industries and BHEL initially with Russian consultants help to make the 6,200 ton INS Arihant after running INS Chakra One for three years from 1997 to 1991 and now INS Chakra 2. There was an accidental flooding in Arihant but Navy looked at it as experience in refitting a major part of the boat. Chinese say in crisis there is an opportunity. With indegenisation of much in the Scorpenes and commonality, India can go for SSNs with possibly underwater angle launched small Brahmos that IAF has struggled with from its SU-30MKI and spent much.Naval designers and L&T builders and their designers are confident in India and Russia which helps in nuclear projects, that the plug of K-15 missiles can be removed and the Arihant can be a 4000 plus SSN easily. .
First it must be understood that submarines are the sword arms of a nation for war, and nuclear submarines are the vehicles of war and also with underwater stealth for nuclear deterrence from the seas. Hence a nuclear SSN can do better what a conventional diesel AIP fitted submarine can do but is a little more expensive to build. A nuclear SSN or SSBN can lurk for days underwater and surprise the enemy. Submarines in peace time are vehicles for exercises and intelligence and the 9 Indian Kilo and 4 upgraded Shishumar 1500 HDW/MSDL and 6 Scorpene submarines are good enough for India’s Order of Battle (ORBAT) in the Indian Ocean Region. The INS Arihant has an Indian made Russian design now improved 82 MW nuclear propulsion plant from BARC. FAS Site has more.
A submariner’s motto is, ‘To Run Deep-Run Silent’, so one does not hear submariners boast, which is how it should be. Submariners world over are admired as the epitome of naval service, and submarine construction as the highest level of maritime military construction. India’s Navy can boast of both attributes. So IDF rests to speak for them SHAN NA VARUNA.