Indian Navy is signing a $771 million contract with Russia to extend the service life of the old kilo class submarines to 35 years.
The navy, which is struggling with a depleted underwater two decade old fleet, has finalized a contract with Russian shipbuilder Zvezdochka and will be sending the first submarine for the refit in June next year, Economic Times reported Saturday.
The extensive refit contract for a total of four submarines, will not only extend the life of the boats but will also upgrade their combat potential. The first submarine to be sent is the INS Sindhukesari that will be fitted with Klub land attack cruise missile.
While the first of the four submarines will be upgraded at Severodvinsk in Russia, the plan is to upgrade the remaining three in an Indian yard as part of the 'Make in India' initiative. Zvezdochka, which is the Russian yard tasked with the modernization process, has already tied up with Reliance Defence to upgrade the submarines at the Pipavav yard in Gujarat.
However, the Navy has currently awarded the upgrade contract for the first submarine only. A decision on the remaining will be taken after a review of Indian yards and their capability to undertake the complex upgrade.
The Sindhukesari will be the first of the Indian Kilo class submarines to undergo the life extension upgrade to 35 years even though the Russian Navy has done this 'second refit' to its fleet.