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DRDO working on cutting submarine vulnerability

S. Anandan

KOCHI: Work is apace at the Defence Research and Development Organisation's Naval Materials Research Laboratory at Ambernath in Maharashtra on developing a land-based prototype plug, and subsequently an engineered, operational version of an Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system that will significantly cut the ‘indiscretion rate' of diesel and electric submarines.

The ‘indiscretion rate' is the percentage of time a submarine spends snorting when it is most vulnerable. By eliminating the need for conventional submarines to frequently resurface for recharging batteries by breathing in air, it would considerably enhance their sub-surface endurance.

Satisfied

Talking to The Hindu here recently, J. Narayana Das, DRDO's Chief Controller, Research and Development (Naval Systems, Materials and Human Resources), said the Navy was satisfied with the DRDO's proposal. “We are first having a land-based demonstrator. And, as we progress, we will concurrently start an engineered version because engineering anything for a submarine platform is a completely different ballgame.”

(Incidentally, The Hindu has learnt from sources in the Navy that it has asked the DRDO to come up with a fully engineered fuel cell AIP by 2014 for possible use in the last two of the six Scorpene submarines being built in Mumbai's Mazagaon Dock. The Navy has also given sanction for the land-based prototype AIP in August this year.)

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