India’s newly upgraded kilo-class "battle-ready" submarine, the INS Sindhurakshak that was destroyed by a fire early Wednesday morning was reportedly fully-armed at the time of the incident. According to reports, the fire began in the weapons bay of the Russian-made submarine with torpedoes and missiles on board.
The INS Sindhurakshak has returned to service earlier in January after a complete overhaul and refit at the Zvezdochka shipyard. The $80 million upgrade included revamping hull structures, installation of an improved control system, sonar, electronic warfare system, and an integrated weapon control system. The submarine was also equipped to launch Club-S missiles.
Newer versions of the Club-S missiles, including 3M54E1 anti-ship and 3M14E land attack missiles, and over ten Indian and foreign-made systems including the Ushus hydro-acoustic (sonar) system and CSS-MK-2 radio communications system were included in the refit.
According to a statement issued by the shipyard during sea trials, “the boat's cooling system is to be modified, the Porpoise radar fitted and other work carried out increasing the boat's military capacity and safety”.
India currently operates 10 kil0-class submarines, of which eight including the INS Sindhurakshak were built by Sevmash and upgraded at the Zvezdochka shipyard.
The INS Sindhuvir and INS Sindhuraj were modernized at the Admiralty Shipyard and another five subs - INS Sindhukesari, INS Sindhuratna, INS Sindhugosh and INS Sindhuvijay and INS Sindhurakshak - were modernized at - Zvyozdochka Shipyard in Severodvinsk.
Of the remaining 3 subs, one has already been overhauled in India, and another two are in the process of being overhauled, according to reports.
Kilo-class submarines are among the most silent submarine classes in the world. They have been specifically designed for anti-shipping and anti-submarine operations in relatively shallow waters.
An archetypal Kilo-class submarine has a displacement of 2,300 tonnes, length of 72.6 meters, a submerged speed of 19 knots (about 35 kilometres an hour), a test depth of 300 metres, a crew of 52 and endurance of 45 days. The subs are armed with six 533 mm torpedo tubes.