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Silent killers set to hog limelight - ANDHRA PRADESH - The Hindu

Silent killers set to hog limelight

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Seeing submarines in action will be a different experience

he black cylindrical objects that would emerge out of the
blue waters and float silently close to the shores during
the International Fleet Review (IFR), will be the things to
watch. They are the silent killers or the submarines from
the Indian Navys 11{+t}{+h}squadron. Most Vizagites
would have seen a submarine from close quarters at the
INS Kursura submarine museum, but seeing the stealth
machines in action will be a different experience.
Hoary history
Sindhughosh-class submarines stationed at the base in
Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam. Photo:
C.V. Subrahmanyam

And what makes them exciting and the makes the city
proud is that Visakhapatnam has a hoary history when it
comes to the submarines.

The Eastern Naval Command (ENC) was chosen above the more important Western Command to house the
first submarine base in the country.
It was in Visakhapatnam and in the ENC that the first submarine INS Kalvari commanded by Commander K.S.
Subramanian had silently sailed into, on July 6, 1968. The submarine and its crew was received by the then Chief
of Naval Staff Admiral A.K. Chatterjee and Flag Officer of the East Coast, Rear-Admiral K.R. Nair.
It was the first of the Type 641 or Foxtrot class Russian submarines procured by India. The three others INS
Khandari commanded by M.N. Vasudeva, INS Karanj commanded by M.N.R Samant and INS Kursura
commanded by A. Auditto, followed between 1968 and 70, to form the 8{+t}{+h}Submarine Squadron and
the first squadron of the country at INS Virbahu.
The effectiveness of submarines had come into focus during World War II, and India wanted to procure
submarines, immediately after gaining Independence, but were dissuaded by the British Officers, who still
continued to hold top positions, on the ground that Indians were not capable and trained in handling the
sophisticated technology.
It was in 1959 that the first Indian to become Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Katari Ram Dass, proposed the
purchase of four submarines from the British Navy at a cost of Rs. 16 crore and Rs. 2 crore, as recurring
expenses for maintenance and running. But the proposal was shelved.



Silent killers set to hog limelight - ANDHRA PRADESH - The Hindu

But the officers did not relent, and in 1962, a nine-member team led by Captain B.K. Dang was sent to HMS
Dolphin, the submarine training school in UK, for training.
In 1963, a fresh proposal for acquiring Porpoise or Oberon class of subs were negotiated with the British,
but they negated it and offered the aging T class. The deal did not crystallise.
And finally in 1964, USSR agreed to train and sell four Foxtrot class subs and thats how the story of the silent
killers began with the Navy and ENC.
Never looked back
Since 1968, the Indian Navy never looked back, when it came to subs. In early 1970s, navy procured four more
advanced Foxtrot class, which were christened as Vela Class. INS Vela, INS Vagir, INS Vagli and INS
Vagsheer, joined the Navy to form the 9{+t}{+h}Squadron under the Western Command in Mumbai.
From 1986 to 2000, India procured 10 Kilo-class diesel-electric subs from Russia to form the Sindhughosh
class. While four of them are based in ENC to form the 11{+t}{+h}Squadron, six of them are based in
Navy also procured four Type-1500 diesel-electric subs from Germany to form the 10{+t}{+h}squadron under
the Shishumar class in Mumbai.
Today, navy has formidable submarine force with 14 diesel-electric submarines, one nuclear attack submarine
INS Chakra and two SSBN in the making.