India contracts Germany’s TKMS for INS Shishumar upgrade

Illustration: Indian Navy file photo of a Shishumar-class submarine

Indian shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders (MDL) has contracted German submarine specialist thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) for work on the overhaul of the Indian Navy’s Type 209 submarine INS Shishumar.

The exact value of the contract was not revealed and TKMS only said it received a “high two-digit million euros” contract for the medium refit and life certification (MRLC) of the 32-year-old submarine.

According to TKMS, the contract includes the delivery of new equipment, the maintenance of systems and components, as well as on-site technical support and logistical services in form of documentation, training and spare parts. In addition, it entails a life certification that warrants the operability of the INS Shishumar’s pressure hull for the next decade.

“We are happy to partner with MDL, the renowned Indian shipyard, which has proven already in the 1980ies to be capable of building new submarines,” Matthias Bergande, MRLC campaign manager of thyssenkrupp Marine Systems. “This contract once again reiterates our long-standing commitment to the country and represents another cornerstone in maintaining the operational capabilities of the Indian submarine force.”

The refit of the INS Shishumar, which takes place at MDL’s dockyard in Mumbai, is expected to be completed by 2021.

TKMS also worked on the modernization of Harpoon missile systems of two other submarines of the same class in 2016: the INS Shalki and the INS Shalkul.

The modernization of these boats is currently underway. Additionally, Atlas Elektronik, which is an operating unit of thyssenkrupp Marine Systems since 2017, is currently modernizing the combat and sensor systems of these submarines. The three aforementioned submarines belong to a batch of four assets that were commissioned between 1986 and 1994.

The construction of the first two submarines (INS Shishumar and INS Shankush) took place at the HDW shipyard (now thyssenkrupp Marine Systems) in Kiel, Germany, including an intensive training of MDL employees enabling the construction of the INS Shalki and the INS Shalkul at the MDL dockyard in Mumbai. These were the first submarines ever to be built in India.

The Shishumar class is based on the HDW Class 209, however, it includes a series of specialties including a larger diameter of the pressure hull, a pressure-resistant bulkhead, as well as a rescue sphere.

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