New Indian clandestine ship is coming?

-Subodh Sharma

The Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), Kochi is all set to engage vendors for the construction of a new type of secretive ship. This ship will provide NPOL the ability to undertake research for underwater acoustics that is often associated with Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). The ship will be called as New Acoustic Research Ship (NARS).

This is not the first time that NPOL will be making a special purpose vessel for the acoustic research, earlier INS Sagardhwani was constructed by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers. The ship was launched in 1991 and since then the vessel has been operational with NPOL as marine acoustic research ship (MARS).

Specifications of the ship:

The length of the ship will be 115 meters and it will be capable of reaching up to maximum speed of 15 Knots. The system will be designed specifically to undertake the low speed missions with a minimum speed of 4 Knots. In order to achieve the silent mode of operation, hybrid propulsion system will be used.

The ship will have 18 labs on board, including the sonar testing, ASW and mooring assembling lab. It will have a endurance of 30 days and 4500 nautical miles in a single mission. It will carry crew of Total 70 (40 scientists and 30 crew).

The ship will be capable of deploying AUV, RUV, Survey Boat and SOLAS Boat. It will have 3 cranes (5 Tonne, 10 tonne and 25 tonne) for the deployment of these deployable assets and general purpose. In addition, it will also have a 15 tonne A-frame at the stern for the deployment of AUV and RUV.

Submarine tracking ship after Missile Tracking ship?

Recently, INS Dhruv, a research vessel and missile range instrumentation ship built by India’s Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) was commissioned in the active service. The ship can gather electronic intelligence and will be used to track missile and satellites to aid India’s strategic weapons and anti-ballistic missiles. It will be jointly operated by National Technical Research Organisation, Defence Research and Development Organisation and the Indian Navy. NARS will be performing similar tasks for underwater roles.

In detail – The Project NARS

The proposed ship is envisaged as acoustically silent class sonar research ship with all the necessary facilities for testing acoustic subsystems / systems at sea. The ship shall have an endurance of 30 days and will carry 40 scientific personnel and 30 crew members. The cruising speed of the ship shall be 12 knots. To carry out sonar testing and evaluation, the ship will have special facilities like

  1. Moon pool – large opening through the deck and bottom of drill ships, diving support vessels or well intervention vessels, allowing to lower tools and instruments into the sea.
  • Specifications of the Moon pool in NARS:
    • Size 5.4 m * 5.4 m clear opening
    • Max Weight of transducer to be handled -10 tons
    • Lowering mechanism with winch and A-frame
    • Provision for lowering 10 m below keel

2. Drop keel – A “centreboard”—also called a drop keel, or sliding keel—is a retractable keel midships that may be lowered to increase lateral resistance and prevent sideslip. A “skeg” is an aft ward extension of the keel intended to keep the boat moving straight and to protect the propeller and rudder from underwater obstructions.

  • Specifications of Drop Keel:
    • Size 3.5 m * 1.3 m
    • Service hatch above water line for in-water replacement
    • Power operated hoist with redundancy

3. Acoustic dome with directing gear and automatic trolley arrangement.

Additional Systems

In addition, it will have standard handling systems including

  1. cranes,
  2. towing winches,
  3. provision for launching AUVs, ROVs, Survey boat etc.

The new vessel shall be equipped with all scientific and oceanographic equipment required for carrying out acoustic / oceanographic studies. The vessel shall also be equipped with reconfigurable mission control centers which can be re arranged to house different types of electronic units and other internal equipment. NPOL has already prepared the concept design and broad technical specifications, project execution plan, cost estimates and general arrangement drawings of the ship with the help of a reputed ship design consultancy firm (Most likely Cochin Shipyard Limited). However, as GRSE have made similar vessel earlier, thus can be a option as well.

As per NPOL, the detailed design, development and building of the vessel shall be undertaken through an approved Indian shipyard with necessary expertise and experience. The ship shall be designed and built to comply with all necessary design and class certifications. The total project is envisaged to be completed within a duration of 60 months.

Type of Missions that will be taken by NARS

The proposed vessel is to serve NPOL as a multi-purpose, multi-discipline marine Acoustic & Sonar research ship capable of worldwide cruising. The vessel shall be capable of carrying out research work in coastal as well as deep oceans. The mission of the ship includes

  1. Collecting oceanographic, acoustic, and geophysical data.
  2. Able to carry out concept proving trials and prototype testing of SONAR systems and technologies.
  3. Able to perform prototype sonar performance evaluation and testing along with calibration of sonar arrays.

The vessel is to carry onboard and deploy basic oceanographic, geological, meteorological equipment, acoustic equipment, and trial components such as submarine noise simulator and active targets.

Why this ship is important?

The growing presence of Chinese submarine fleet in Indian ocean region needs immediate attention. The MARS (INS Sagardhwani) was inducted in service in the year 1994 and today the need is to have a more modern and capable system. This ship will be used to develop new technology, technique, tactics and placement of underwater assets for more effective anti-submarine warfare.

Interested about DRDO’s Maareech Anti-Torpedo Defense System used by the Indian Navy? Read here.

Want to get an idea about Tejas Mk2? Read here.

Like what you read? Help us spread the word.

By Alpha Defense

Alpha Defense initially a solo venture but now a defense group by people from various demographics of India covering defense news and updates. We believe in unbiased analysis of every subject in hand. Our mission is to provide simplfiied defense information to the public.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *