INS Kalvari
India launches its first of the six Scorpene class INS Kalvari conventional submarine into sea trials. Pictured: INS Kalvari during sea trails.Twitter/SpokespersonMoD

INS Kalvari (meaning Tiger Shark), the first of the six conventional Scorpene class submarines of the Indian Navy being built at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd Mumbai (MDL), splashed into the sea for trials "using her own propulsion" on May 1, 2016, according to a statement from the Ministry of Defence.

The ministry said in the statement that the submarine would be undergoing various preliminary tests on the propulsion system, auxiliary equipment and systems, navigation aids, communication equipment and steering gear. Several Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were validated for this class of submarines.

The statement called this an "important milestone" for MDL. In the coming months, the tests will include surface trials, diving trials, weapon trials and noise trials, pushing the submarine's endurance levels.

The commissioning of INS Kalvari will take place by the end of 2016, following the completion of all the trials. This is expected to be a major boost to the current government's "Make in India" initiative.

INS Kalvari is a new age Scorpene diesel-electric submarine apparently featuring superior stealth, and can reportedly attack the enemy using precision-guided weapons. The submarine can attack with torpedoes, tube launched anti-ship missiles, said the statement.

The submarine is designated to perform operations in all theatres, and has the means and the wherewithal for interoperability, and can perform multifarious types of missions like anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, mine laying and area surveillance, the statement noted.

INS Kalvari and the rest of its class are said to be made from special steel and have the ability to withstand high-yield stress and high hydrostatic force, which allow them to augment stealth. It also reportedly features modular construction, which involves dividing it into number of sections and building them parallelly. The construction involved the laying of about 60 km of cabling and 11 km of piping. It is also equipped with weapon launching tubes (WLT), which lets sailors carry weapons on board that can be reloaded at sea without any hitch.

INS Kalvari is also said to feature complex sensors managed by a high-technology Combat Management System.

This six Scorpene class submarines have French naval defence and energy, DCNS as collaborator, and "Transfer of Technology" from the French defence firm, the statement from the Ministry of Defence noted.

This sub is expected to boost Indian Navy's submarine operations even as it has to deal with delays in new ships and a rising Pakistan and a powerful China, which are appearing in the Indian Ocean more often, raising tension in the North Block.

The Times of India noted in its report that India has not been able to commission even a single submarine following the crucial decision in 1999 by then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's government to have a 30-year submarine-building plan where 24 submarines would be inducted in a phased manner. INS Kalvari is the first among them, taking 16 years to be launched into sea trials.