Russia has announced that it is designing a new class of conventional submarines which will be equipped with advanced air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems.
The AIP systems are core to an RFP expected to be issued by the Indian MoD for three new stealth submarines called Project 75 (I). Russian shipyards may be keen to respond to his RFP whenever it is issued.
The Commander of Russian Navy, Adm. Viktor Chirkov said on Wednesday that the new fifth-generation submarines will be designated as the Kalina class.
"Russia is currently designing a fifth-generation conventional submarine, dubbed Project Kalina, which will be fitted with an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system," Adm. Viktor Chirkov said."Our industry promises to develop this AIP system by 2017 and build the first boat fitted with such a system by 2018”.
The admiral earlier said that the new AIP system could be initially tested on the only operational Lada-class diesel-electric submarine in service with the Russian Navy, the St. Petersburg, which is undergoing sea trials in the Barents Sea after a series of design changes.
Air-independent power plants offer significant advantages over diesel-electric submarines, which must surface regularly to recharge their batteries, and nuclear submarines, which must continually run noisy pumps to cool their reactors.
The Indian Navy’s yet-to-be issued RFP is a follow on acquisition to six Project Submarines under construction in India with technical help from DCNS, France called Project 75 submarines.
According to reports, two Project 75 (I) submarines will be built abroad by the foreign vendor that wins the contract with the follow-on four vessels to be constructed in India, by the Mazagon Dock Limited, Mumbai (MDL) and Hindustan Shipyard Ltd, Visakhapatnam (HSL).
The acquisition is worth $15 billion and is expected to be complete by 2020. Those expected to be in the running for this project includesHDW of Germany, Rosoboronexport of Russia, France’s DCNS and Navantia of Spain. DCNS, given its involvement in the Project 75 submarines, could enjoy a natural advantage in the evaluation.
The newest submarines will possess enhanced stealth technology, improved communication systems and systems preventing collision with other vessels, as well as advanced weaponry, the Navy Chief said.