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Midget Submarine: 1st truly indigenous conventional submarine prototype of India will be commissioned by December 2024

Source : Indian Defence Analysis

Midget Submarine: 1st truly indigenous conventional submarine prototype of India will be commissioned by December 2024
L&T Midget Submarine design (Image Credit: Delhi Defence Review)

Midget Submarine: 1st truly indigenous conventional submarine prototype of India will be commissioned by December 2024

A midget submarine also known as mini submarine. It is a submarine which is less than 150 tons and is typically operated by a crew of one or two but sometimes up to six or nine. It has little or no on-board living accommodation. These submarines work in conjunction with mother ships, from which they are launched and recovered and provide living accommodation for the crew and support staff. MDL & L&T are the two Indian shipbuilders working on the midget submarine.

L&T SOV 400 MIDGET submarine

L&T has unveiled its design of midget submarine during Egypt’s Defence Exhibition EDEX 2021. Designed and developed in-house, the L&T’s SOV 400 is 44m long with a displacement of 490 ton. It is capable of carrying crew member of ten for the operation of submarines, along with the ten more special operations troops. The midget submarine has an endurance of 21 days and be able to traverse submerged for 80 nm and cruise for 2000 nm at a speed of 4 knots. It will have two 4 Mha lead-acid batteries charged by 2400KWe generators. L&T should replace it with Lithium-Ion batteries to further improve the endurance and serviceability of submarines.  It will be used to power a 300-kW electric motor to provide propulsion for the submarine. For self-defense, or targets of opportunity, the SOV-400 is armed with two 533mm (21″) heavyweight torpedoes carried externally. There is modest sonar in the bow, but logically this will primarily be for surface targets. The exact model of torpedo is unspecified and likely to be adaptable to customer needs.

Special Operational Requirement

The SOV-400 appears optimized for Special Forces missions, carrying 10 SF operators. Two SDVs (Swimmer Delivery Vehicles) which can carry 4 personnel, can be hung on the lower hull. This gives the SF combat swimmers a means to conduct longer-endurance missions. For a cross-beach mission a 4-6 person team could be inserted by the two SDVs, with two remaining as drivers. 2 more SF personnel would remain aboard the SOV-400 to coordinate and support the mission. The submarine is targeted at the navies of the smaller country with limited financial budget. The submarines will be mainly used to deploy and recover Special Forces while submerged for intelligences, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) as well as sabotage, rescue and evacuation missions.

Indian navy requirement

Now if we talk about the requirements of Indian navy, it is already in process of acquiring Swimmer Delivery Vehicle (SDV) which is a planned class of midget submarine for the Indian navy. Under this programme the Indian Navy will acquire 2 midget submarines for use as Swimmer Delivery Vehicles. These submarines will be used for conducting underwater special operations by MARCOS or marine commando force.

Earlier it was reported that both the submarines will be constructed by Hindustan Shipyard Limited and the cost of procurement for two SDVs will be around ₹2,000 crore.

MDL Midget Submarine

MDL has also initiated Design & Development of Indigenous midget submarine which is being called MS-X02A. The submarine will have minimal acoustic and Electromagnetic signatures. It will be integrated with state-of-art SONAR, GPS, INS & communication systems. It sill support both ship launched and independent operations.

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MDL Midget Submarine design

MDL has completed the concept design of Midget Submarine and the detailed design is in progress. Construction of Midget Submarine prototype was likely to commence by the end of 2022. MDL has reported that India’s 1st truly indigenous conventional submarine prototype will be commissioned by December 2024. The submarine being referred here is the midget submarine under development by MDL which is a very good news for Indian Navy. IgMp

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