Indian Navy’s submarine fleet in shambles: CAGOctober 24th, 2008 - 9:08 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Oct 24 (IANS) The Indian Navy has received flak from the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) which says in its report released Friday that the submarine fleet is ageing and by 2012, 63 percent of the vessels would have completed their operational life.”In what could seriously impact on the operational preparedness of the Indian Navy, more than 50 percent of its submarines have completed 75 percent of their operational life and some have already outlived their maximum service life,” the CAG report for 2006-07 said.
“With serious slippages in the induction plan, the navy is left with an ageing fleet with more than 50 percent of submarines having completed 75 percent of their operational life and some already outliving their maximum service life,” the CAG report for the year 2006-2007, released Friday, said.
The report said: “If the construction plan for new submarines is not expedited, 63 percent of the existing fleet would complete their prescribed life by 2012 when the first new submarine will be inducted as per the present schedule.”
Due to ageing fleet and prolonged refit schedules, the average operational availability of the submarines is as low as 48 percent.
The availability of the submarines with the Indian Navy is much below the envisaged force level and a large number of submarines in the existing fleet will become due for de-commissioning in the immediate future, which will lead to a sharp decline in the fleet, the report noted.
Ageing is not the only factor affecting the submarine fleet but the CAG has also found overexploitation of the submarines.
“Test check on ‘Y’ class of submarines indicated their overexploitation and non-adherence to the prescribed standards for operational patrol, tactical exercises and individual work ups,” the report said.
Timely refit and maintenance is essential for ensuring operational availability and readiness of a submarine but according to CAG’s findings, the refit activity management in the navy is not efficient. Most of the refits could not be completed within the prescribed time period.
“Piecemeal modernization and upgradation of submarines at an aggregate cost of Rs.1,560 crore (Rs.15.60 billion) was undertaken by the navy without taking approval of the competent financial authority,” the report said.
The modernization and upgradation programme of submarines has been only partially successful as missile firing capabilities of three submarines is functioning at sub-optimal levels, the report said.