Daily Hot Topic
Topic : DRDO’s Project-76
GS-3 Mains  : Security
Revision Notes

India’s Growing Ambition:

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is taking a significant leap forward with Project-76, a preliminary study for designing and building India’s first entirely indigenous conventional submarine. This ambitious project signifies India’s growing desire to achieve self-reliance in its critical defense needs, particularly its underwater warfare capabilities.

Learning from the Past:

Project-76 builds upon the success of Project-75, a collaboration with France to construct six Scorpène-class submarines. The experience gained from Project-75 will be invaluable as India navigates the complexities of indigenous submarine design and development.

Project-76 Highlights:

  • Indigenous Focus: Project-76 aims for a substantial percentage of the submarine’s components to be designed and manufactured within India. This includes weapons systems, missiles, combat management systems, sonars, communication equipment, and even the mast and periscope.
  • Continuity and Expansion: Project-76 follows Project-75, showcasing India’s commitment to a long-term vision of building a robust domestic submarine construction capability. This aligns with the Navy’s 30-year submarine building program.
  • Technological Leap: A successful Project-76 would be a major achievement, placing India among a select group of nations capable of designing and building advanced submarines entirely on their own. This would significantly enhance India’s strategic autonomy and technological prowess.

Current Submarine Landscape:

The Indian Navy currently operates 16 conventional submarines, categorized into three main classes:

  • Kilo-class (Russia): These diesel-electric submarines, known for their stealth and maneuverability, form the mainstay of the Indian Navy’s submarine fleet. With a displacement of 3,000 tonnes and a diving depth of 300 meters, they are well-suited for operations in the Indian Ocean region.
  • Shishumar-class (Germany): These smaller diesel-electric submarines offer good speed and agility. They are primarily deployed for coastal defense and intelligence gathering missions.
  • Kalvari-class (France): These modern Scorpène-class submarines, built under Project-75, represent the latest addition to the Indian Navy’s submarine fleet. They boast advanced features like superior acoustics, weapon systems, and automation, making them potent platforms for offensive operations.

The Importance of Submarines:

Submarines play a critical role in modern naval warfare:

  • Safeguarding Maritime Interests: Submarines provide a stealthy presence for patrolling India’s vast coastline and protecting its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) resources.
  • Maintaining Sea Lines of Communication: Submarines ensure the uninterrupted flow of trade and military supplies across the Indian Ocean, vital for India’s economic and strategic well-being.
  • Deterrence Capability: A strong submarine force acts as a deterrent against potential adversaries, preventing them from engaging in hostile activities in India’s maritime domain.
  • Power Projection: Submarines enable India to project its military power effectively across the Indian Ocean region, contributing to regional stability and security.

The Road Ahead:

Project-76 represents a significant milestone in India’s quest for self-reliance in defense technology. The success of this project would not only bolster India’s naval capabilities but also position it as a leading player in the field of indigenous submarine construction. While the initial study is estimated to take a year, India’s long-term vision is to develop a robust submarine design and construction ecosystem within the country.

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