INS Sindhurakshak S63 sailed with the President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, for a day at sea on 13 February 2006. The day was to showcase to the President, the intricacies of submarine operations. It is for the first time that an Indian President was sailing on board a submarine, which in itself is a great moment in the history of the submarine arm of the Indian Navy and a singular honour for INS Sindhurakshak. She is the 9th in the series of Kilo Class submarines of the Indian Navy. Commissioned on 24 December 1997 at St Petersburg, Russia she has already taken part in two significant military conflicts – Operation Vijay in 1999 and in Operation Parakram in 2002. She is commanded by Commander Pravesh Singh Bisht, who is an alumni of the 70th course of the NDA (National Defence Academy). INS Sindhurakshak traveled about five miles off the coast of Visakhapatnam and went down to a depth of 50 meters (164 feet). President Kalam was explained the functioning of the submarine and was also taken around the five compartments of the boat, so as to give him a first-hand knowledge of the submarine's operations.
Full text of President Kalam's speech aboard INS Sindhurakshak
I am delighted to be in the submarine and meet the officers and sailors in their working environment. My underwater journey in the submarine has given me the exposure to a new world and a great experience. My greetings to all of you. Submarines are known to be the most invincible and silent force in naval warfare. The German U-Boats had created panic among the allied forces during the naval battles in the Second World War. The same phenomena even prevail today. It has the ability to hide under sonic-shadow zones and because of its operations in higher depths and at slow speed emanates very little noise. Both these characteristics in combination, make it undetectable even by the best of sensors fitted in ships. The submarines are now armed with most lethal weapons like mines, torpedoes, and tube launched & vertically launched missiles. It has acquired capability of not only destroying the naval platforms at sea but also long range strategic land targets remaining undetectable through out the mission. A strategic navy, like ours, needs a submarine fleet. The Government has recently launched a construction programme of submarines with state-of-the-art technology in the country, which I am sure will pave the path for adding more submarines in our Navy and simultaneously enable building of a strong indigenous know-how in design, development and construction. I am sure we will be able to do it in much faster pace now, due of the experience gained in our earlier construction of SSK-Submarines. Independent of whatever foreign collaboration, it is essential for the Indian Navy to launch the design, development of two types of submarines, one of the conventional class and the other strategic with a long endurance capability.
I have seen and studied the Kilo Class submarine, the SSK Class submarine and also the long endurance submarines that is taking shape. Definitely, since our submarine crew in future warfare has to perform under the sea for long duration with high maneuver capability, there is a need for providing more space for strategic weapons and sensors and make the interior design crew friendly. As the nation has advanced in the design, development of aerospace systems, sensor technology like sonar, gyro system and control system design, structural design for stealth characteristics and hydro dynamic configuration it is time for the Navy to launch an indigenous design & development of our own submarine. In this connection I have always seen naval design teams have shown the capability for indigenous design. Also, a long endurance submarine is being developed with partnership. This should give confidence to build special class of strategic submarines indigenously. The strategies of war has undergone a revolutionary change because of satellite based surveillance systems and many other advanced systems being deployed for monitoring a submarine's presence. We will therefore need to have submarines with long underwater endurance and stealthier from the point of acoustic and magnetic emissions. I am sure, that our naval fleet is equipped with platforms with such type of performance. I greatly appreciate the challenges being encountered by submarine team members. Their life is enclosed in a small environment but what keeps them going are the continuous pressure and the continuous surveillance that they have to maintain for the safety of the submarine and meeting the operational needs. I greet the valiant sailors and officers of this silent force, for performing such onerous tasks. My Best Wishes.
Images Courtesy - Indian Navy