India and France have started a new partnership in submarine building this month as the French company Naval and an Indian defence lab, Naval Materials Research Laboratory, are collaborating to make air-independent propulsions (AIPs) for submarines.
This fuel cell-based technology will be used in the Kalvari class Indian submarines. The French company will certify the AIP design, and the lab will build the AIP system. The new technology will upgrade the diesel-electric submarines of India, enhancing their endurance.
A defence ministry statement confirmed this, stating that the AIP will allow submarines to be submerged in water for weeks at a stretch, almost like nuclear submarines.
The Hunt Begins – 23 Jan 2023 pic.twitter.com/eh4XAdRk9j
— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) January 23, 2023
Earlier it was reported that the DRDO and the Naval Group had signed an MoU to retrofit INS Kalvari with the AIP system. Kalvari is similar to Scorpene class French submarines.
The agreement highlights that they are collaborating on the detailed design of integrating the indigenous system with the new AIP.
It will be a unique system that generates hydrogen onboard the vessel rather than liquid form storage.
India uses the AIP from the Fuel Cell Second Generation model (FC2G) of the Naval Group. This system extracts hydrogen from diesel using liquid nitrogen and oxygen. The oxygen is mixed with hydrogen to generate electricity to power the submarine batteries, while water is produced as a byproduct.
References: Asia Times, Defense News
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