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India launches first new anti-submarine craft after delays

The first anti-submarine warfare shallow water craft on order for the Indian Navy, seen here at its launch ceremony on 20 December. (Ministry of Defence, India)

India's L&T Shipbuilding has launched the first vessel in a new class of anti-submarine warfare shallow water craft (ASW SWC) destined for the Indian Navy.

The vessel, which was initially scheduled for delivery to the Indian Navy in October 2022, was launched on 20 December at L&T's shipyard in Kattupalli, Chennai. It has been named Arnala and it was laid down by L&T Shipbuilding in June 2022.

The ASW SWC is part of a programme to equip the Indian Navy with a total of 16 submarine-hunting vessels that are capable of operating efficiently within India's coastal and littoral waters. These new vessels will replace India's Abhay-class corvettes, which have been progressively retired since 2017.

Construction of the vessels is split evenly between India's Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) and a Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) and L&T Shipbuilding teaming arrangement. The contract with the GRSE teaming was inked with the Ministry of Defence in April 2019.

The 900-tonne ASW SWC has an overall length of about 77.6 m, a beam of 10.2 m, and a draught of 2.7 m. It will be capable of achieving a top speed of 25 kt and an endurance of about 1,800 n mile, according to details provided by the defence ministry.

The ASW SWC will be equipped with torpedoes, rockets, a hull-mounted sonar, and a low-frequency variable depth sonar.

The shipyards involved in the programme have provided scant details of the vessels' combat systems. However, a media statement issued by the defence ministry to mark Arnala's launch described the vessel as one that would have “over 80% indigenous content”.

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