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Amidst a numbers crisis, India to refit an ageing Type 209 submarine

7th July 2023 - 09:30 GMT | by Neelam Mathews in Delhi


INS Shankush was the second Type 209 built for the Indian Navy. It was commissioned on 20 November 1986. (Photo: MDL)

With no apparent progress in place for obtaining new batches of submarines, India is resorting to upgrading its older boats.

On 30 June, the Indian MoD awarded Mumbai-based Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) an INR27.25 billion ($332 million) contract for a medium refit of INS Shankush. This Type 209/1500 submarine, built by HDW in Kiel in 1984, is to return to service in 2026.

The Indian Navy’s (IN) shrinking submarine fleet, while neighbours China and Pakistan expand theirs, has shaken the MoD from its state of apathy.

However, the decision to retrofit Shankush has left many nervous, given that the life of a conventional submarine is typically 24-28 years. Over time, compression and decompression result in structural weakness.


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Neelam Mathews


Neelam Mathews

Neelam Mathews was born in India and completed her education in London.

She has written for …

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