Costly upgrades, $850 millions for four Kilo class Submarines
Indian Navy signed a contract with Russian Shipyard Zvezdochka to upgrade four existing kilo class submarines into cruise missile launching capable submarines dubbed as Project 08773 for some $850 millions. The Indian Navy operates nine modified kilo class submarine called as Sindhughosh class submarines. The INS Sindhurakshak is also a modified kilo class, which was exploded in Mumbai harbor two years ago. 9 out of five kilo class submarines are already modernized to fire cruise missiles early years and under operational, however they yet to receive modern digital systems.
The new refit program modify the last four kilo class submarines to fire the Klub class anti shipping cruise missiles from the Submarine, for stand off anti shipping capability. Which makes the Kilo submarine suited for both anti submarine and anti surface maritime missions. The Klub class cruise missile can capable to engage targets upto some 200 kilometers. Thus makes the Submarine operate from safer distance before engaging against the hostile ships.
All kilo Submarines works under diesel electric propulsion, where energy can be stored in the batteries for usage. The Kilo class submarines are one of the most quietest submarines identical to the Swedish Gotland Submarines. Rival enemy China too operate such Submarines in good numbers. So it's easy for Chinese to identify Indian Kilo's acoustic signatures. Each submarine hold some 240 batteries for energy storage, where Indian Company EXIDE provides those batteries to the Submarines operated by Indian Navy.
Same like others, Indian Navy too fitted some communication and defensive systems in the Submarines sourced from the west. The Automated and Information control systems are built by the Avrora Systems Russia, and the under water Communication system fitted in the submarines are originated from France company Gican. And multiple command systems and fire control systems are all modified by some other foreign and in home sources, makes the Indian Kilo submarines most modern and highly reliable submarines compared to other Kilo variants.
Whenever the Submarine goes for refit, There will be a new addition of modern systems or replacement of older systems. Major systems like bow mounted Sonar systems are developed by BEL is fitted in some kilo class submarines. along with modern countermeasure suites, hull modifications and external antenna's for communications.
|Thales Optronic Mast|
As per current projections, Newer Kilo class submarine costs some $300 to $400 millions according to the user's modifications. However the Indian Navy refit costs $200 millions per unit. In this packages Indian Navy will receive more number of Tube launching cruise missiles, Torpedo's and mines. This makes the entire budget for four Submarines upgrade contract close to $850 millions. one of the costlier upgrades ever done by the Navy. Earlier the IAF shocked the nation by upgrading the Fleet of Mirage 2000 with a whooping $2 billions.
Not only this, Indian Navy set to receive TB 29 thin line towed array Sonar systems to search enemy naval activities from stand off ranges. This makes the Kilo class submarine one of the best diesel electric submarines compared to other diesel electric SSK. The bow sonar in the Kilo along with the TB-29 towed array and Combat Control System (CCS) Mk 2, known collectively as the QE-2 System, provides a functionally equivalent system for the Los Angeles and Ohio class submarines. Enhancements include increases in acoustic performance, improved combat control capabilities and replacement of obsolete equipment.
The modernization also include the replacement of older periscope's into new generation optronic periscopes. mostly the refit comes with the Thales Optornic mast.
The unique capabilities of the the Kilo class submarines is launching Klub class cruise missiles, the Kilo sub's comes with six 533mm Torpedo tube. The tube has a unique function of launching Torpedo's, Mines and Cruise missiles too. each Klub can be armed with four Klub's for long range surface targets, and two torpedo's for short range targets submarine and warships.
|rearming a Klub cruise missile in 533mm Torpedo Tube|
The Klub missiles has the range of some 220 kilometers, fly in very low sea skimming mode, which is very difficult to spotting them in the radar. The missile can fly at supersonic speed in the terminal phase for high kinetic impact. makes lethal penetration in the Ship's hull and superstructure. The missile can be guided by the SATCOMM and active Radar homing for high precision.
The refit also includes balance five Kilo class submarines in Indian Shipyards by adding newer electronic system. The Reliance owned Pipavav may get this order in another deal. the refit allows the Navy to operate those Submarines for another 20 to 35 years. The Indian Navy set to receive the first modernized kilo submarines from Russia by next twelve months.