Sindhughosh-class submarines: A deep dive into general attributes, fleet prowess, and operational challenges

Sindhughosh-class submarines, based on the Kilo-class design, are an important component of the Indian Navy’s fleet. With a displacement of 3,000 tonnes, these diesel-electric submarines are equipped with Club-S missiles and torpedoes, giving them outstanding operational capabilities.

The Sindhughosh-class submarines of the Indian Navy’s fleet are diesel-electric and based on the Kilo-class design. These submarines are named in Sanskrit, and in Roman-alphabet form, a final short -a is occasionally deleted.

These submarines, designated 877EKM, were planned as part of Project 877 and built under a contract between Rosvooruzhenie and India’s Ministry of Defence. With a displacement of 3,000 tonnes, they can dive to a maximum depth of 300 metres and reach speeds of 18 knots. These submarines can also operate independently for 45 days, with a crew of 53.

 

General Characteristics:

The Sindhughosh-class submarine is a potent attack submarine, distinguished by displacement, length, beam, and draught. When surfaced, the submarine weighs 2,325 tonnes, and when submerged, it can move 3,076 tonnes. The submarine has a sleek and efficient design, measuring 72.6 metres long, 9.9 metres wide, and 6.6 metres deep.

The submarine has a similarly impressive operational range. It can go 6,000 miles at 7 knots while snorkelling, displaying its endurance and adaptability. The Sindhughosh-class submarine can also cruise 400 miles at 3 knots when submerged. With a test depth of 300 metres, the submarine demonstrates its capacity to function successfully in a variety of underwater environments.

The Sindhughosh-class submarine has a crew of 53, including 13 officers. This professional and well-trained personnel assures the submarine’s smooth functioning in demanding maritime settings.

In terms of armaments, the Sindhughosh-class submarine comes with several potent weapons. It is outfitted with Club-S missiles, Type 53-65 torpedoes, and TEST 71/76 active-passive homing torpedoes. Additionally, the submarine may carry 24 DM-1 mines instead of torpedoes, expanding its strategic potential for both offensive and defensive missions. Overall, the Sindhughosh-class submarine is a strong force in naval warfare, combining advanced technology with a highly competent crew to attain maritime dominance.

Ships of this class:

The Sindhughosh-class submarine, a series of diesel-electric submarines in service with the Indian Navy, is made up of numerous vessels, each of which contributes to the country’s naval capability. The fleet comprises INS Sindhughosh (S55), a famous member of this class. Along with it are INS Sindhudhwaj (S56), INS Sindhuraj (S57), INS Sindhuvir (S58), INS Sindhuratna (S59), INS Sindhukesari (S60), INS Sindhukirti (S61), INS Sindhuvijay (S62), and INS Sindhurakshak (S63). Each of these submarines is a critical component of India’s maritime defence policy, with superior technology and the ability to operate efficiently beneath the water’s surface. The INS Sindhurashtra (S65) is a major addition to the Sindhughosh class, increasing the submarine fleet’s power and versatility.

 

Incidents:

On January 10, 2008, the cargo ship MV Leeds Castle collided with the INS Sindhughosh. During the event, the submarine’s conning tower was slightly damaged, forcing it to be taken out of action for a month. Notably, the cargo ship was in prohibited shallow waters at the time.

Following that, on February 26, 2010, an awful incident occurred aboard the INS Sindhurakshak. Onboard the submarine, a fire broke out, killing one man and injuring two others. A faulty battery was found to be the source of the fire. This was a sombre moment in the submarine’s operational history.

On August 14, 2013, tragedy struck again when an explosion and subsequent fire were reported on the INS Sindhurakshak. The seriousness of the disaster caused the submarine to sink in the dock. These subsequent occurrences prompted questions about the INS Sindhurakshak’s safety and operating readiness.

In contrast, the INS Sindhuvijay underwent extensive modifications, particularly the integration of the hydroacoustical USHUS complex and the CCS-MK radio communications system. These upgrades were intended to increase the submarine’s capabilities and keep it technologically advanced in its function within the Navy force. The divergent fates of the INS Sindhurakshak and the improved INS Sindhuvijay demonstrate the challenges and advancements of the Indian Navy’s submarine force.