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Indian Navy SSN design revealed in NSTL tender for Optimization of High Speed vessel and evaluation of Hydrodynamic Performance

Source : Indian Defence Analysis

Indian Navy SSN design revealed in NSTL tender for Optimization of High Speed vessel and evaluation of Hydrodynamic Performance

Indian Navy SSN design revealed in NSTL tender for Optimization of High Speed vessel and evaluation of Hydrodynamic Performance

In the battle for undersea supremacy, silence is the key to survival and victory. And as we all know that nuclear attack submarines of SSNs are true submarines with ability to stay and operate under water almost indefinitely; their endurance is limited only by food supplies for the crew. Back in June 2021, Indian Navy’s lone SSN was returned to Russia, leaving a huge capability gap for Navy. And now Indian Navy has two aircraft carriers with No SSNs to be part of their Carrier Strike Group.

Project 75 Alpha

Under Project 75 alpha, the Indian Navy aims to procure nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN) with displacement of 6000 tonne. The Government of India had approved the construction of six such submarines in February 2015. On 24 June 2019, it was reported that ₹100 crore (US$13 million) have been allocated for the initial phase of the project. These will be designed by the Navy’s in-house Directorate of Naval Design now called Warship Design Bureau and built in India at the Shipbuilding Centre at Visakhapatnam. In February 2020, The Economic Times reported that the preliminary design phase of the programme has been successfully completed. The Submarine Design Group of Navy assisted by the DRDO is working on detailed design which is expected to be complete by 2025 post which the construction is expected to start. The first submarine is expected to enter service after 2032.

On 14th Jun 2021, it was reported that Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is considering the proposal to build three nuclear attack submarines. The decision on building the next three will be taken after the completion of the first set. The first three SSNs will have a 95% indigenous content. These submarines are going feature miniaturized pressure water reactor, hull from Mishra Dhatu Nigam and pump jet propulsion from DRDO.


In June 2023, DRDO’s NSTL has released a tender for “Optimization of High Speed vessel and evaluation of Hydrodynamic Performance” under which we can see a design of new submarine which seems to be of SSN under development. One of the noticeable feature in the design is that the Sail is positioned closer to bow which has been done possibly to make some space at aft for Vertical Launch Missiles.

DRDO’s Pump jet Propulsion technology

DRDO has already started working on the Pump Jet technology for Submarines which requires two important modules. First is the Marine engine and the second one is the pump jet. If you look at the USA Virginia class Submarine, it is powered by one nuclear reactor of 210 MW, two steam turbines of 30 MW and one primary and one secondary pump-jet propulsor motor.  This propulsion helps to drive the submarine of 11,000t at a speed of 25knots or 46kmph. DRDO is also working on a pump jet propulsion which will have electrical engine motor that can generate the power of 525KW. DRDO is using the learning from the pump jet technology used in torpedoes to develop this prototype. This prototype will be scalable to massive 35MW of power. DRDO is planning to develop 1 for protype, 1 for qualification tests and 2 for actual evaluation and usage. It is driving this project via its Technological Development fund with the collaboration of public or private firms together with foreign firms not having stake more than 49%. BHEL also has experience in developing & deploying 20MW motors. Going via the progress being made in this area, the pump jet propulsion can be easily developed indigenously.

Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR)

The nuclear submarines will be powered by a miniature pressurized water reactor (PWR) being developed by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. PWR is already being used in Arihant-class submarine and can generate a power of 83 MW. India may seek French assistance for the nuclear reactor that run on low enriched uranium making the technology safe and future-proof similar to the Baracuda class submarines.

It has also been reported that France has offered India the design for the Barracuda-class SSN along with retrofitting its pump-jet propulsion with the 190MW pressurized water reactor.

Submarine Material

Mishra Dhatu Nigam along with NMRL is working on making special alloy which will not have any ferro magnetic property and at same time will have strong hull than Arihant class submarines. The new allow makes the submarine faster, stronger and stealthier. Vibroacostic tile is also going to be used in Sonar dome to make the submarines further stealthier. SAILs Bhilai Steel plant will be producing the special grade steel for the nuclear attack submarines. Indian Navy SSN design revealed Indian Navy SSN design revealed Indian Navy SSN design revealed Indian Navy SSN design revealed Indian Navy SSN design revealed Indian Navy SSN design revealed Indian Navy SSN design revealed Indian Navy SSN design revealed Indian Navy SSN design revealed IgMp

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