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As INS Kalvari undergoes sea trials, DCNS works out a maintenance model for the navy

A FORCE Report

DCNS New Delhi: On 1 of May 2016, the first of MDL-constructed Scorpene class of submarines, INS Kalvari sailed out of the Mumbai harbour for sea trials, moving one step closer to its commissioning in the Indian Navy, hopefully later this year.

In preparation of this momentous event, executive vice president, services, DCNS, Nathalie Smirnov, was in India in the third week of March to discuss the options for maintenance of the submarines with the Indian Navy. “Maintenance cycle starts from the day the vessel hits the water,” said Smirnov pleasantly, adding that, “It is a fact that sailing ships need less maintenance than stationary ships, because there are several kinds of organisms in the water which tend to cling to the boat when it is not moving. They cause erosion on the structure.” Given that INS Kalvari has been undergoing harbour trials for the last six months, it would be due for a shot of maintenance before it is formally inducted in the Indian Navy later this year. And this is where Smirnov’s division will step in helping the navy maintain its fleet of new submarines.

“We offer a range of models for maintenance, servicing and life cycle care of the ships,” said Smirnov. “We can give as much support as the Indian Navy would want us to give. We can give technical assistance, as well as do part or all of maintenance for the navy. In any case, we will be helping the navy optimise the operations of the submarines.” DCNS would first transfer the maintenance know-how to DCNS India, which in turn will transfer it to the Indian Navy.

In addition to giving maintenance support, according to Smirnov, DCNS can also set up local maintenance structures for Scorpene. As she says, the Indian Navy need not do everything on its own. DCNS can help train and qualify sub-contractors in India who can assist the navy in the long-term maintenance of its fleet. In this respect, it will bring on board the global and regional experiences of through life support of the Scorpene class. For instance, Malaysian Navy also operates the same class of submarines, which were delivered in 2010.


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