Indian delegation flies to Russia, demands assistance in salvaging sunken submarine

Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall when the Indian delegation arrives at the Admiralty Shipyard?

The Russians have already insisted that the explosion could not possibly be their fault, because we all know how reliable Russian technology is… right? So telling the Indians to their face that clearly they’re to blame should be interesting.

India wants Russia to help raise sunken submarine

Photo: EPA

Indian and Russian officials are discussing options for raising Russian-built Indian diesel-electric submarine Sindhurakshak, which caught fire after a series of explosions on board and sank off Mumbai on August 14, killing all its crew of 18, said a source close to Russia’s shipbuilding industry.

There remain unexploded torpedoes on board, which is an obstacle to raising Sindhurakshak, the source said.

Indian Navy officials have asked for technological and physical help in bringing up the submarine from the seafloor but neither the Russian government nor any Russian firm has received any official request for this from India.

United Shipbuilding Corporation declined to comment, while a spokesman for Admiralty Shipyard, which built Sindhurakshak, said that an Indian delegation was due to visit the shipyard on Friday but did not disclose what would be discussed during the visit.

One explanation of the Mumbai accident that has been offered is that the first explosion was caused by high concentration of hydrogen in an accumulator in the head compartment, which is next to the torpedo unit.

India received Project 877EKM Sindhurakshak in 1997.

A fire on board the vessel in 2010 that was caused by a hydrogen explosion killed one of the sailors.

The submarine was repaired and modernized at Russia’s Zvyozdochka shipyard in 2010-2012.

Russian experts still denied access to sunken Indian sub

A group of Russian experts from the Zvyozdochka ship repair center have not been allowed to visit the site of India’s sunken Sindhurakshak submarine in Mumbai, Zvyozdochka’s official spokeswoman Nadezhda Shcherbinina confirmed to the Voice of Russia.

“They may not be allowed to visit in principle,” she said.

“This is a prerogative of the country that owns the ship. We have contacted our warrantee group in Mumbai. They remain at their hotel. They have not been invited, so to say. They may be or may not be invited to participate.”

Earlier, Russian media reported, citing an unnamed source, that the Russian experts had been granted access to the sunken submarine.

Voice of Russia, Interfax

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_08_23/India-wants-Russia-to-help-raise-sunken-submarine-source-2775/

Faulty Russian technology to blame for Indian submarine disaster? Not according to Russia.

Voice of Russia dismisses theory that Indian submarine disaster has anything whatsoever to do with Russian technology. Nope. Must be human error by Indians. Couldn’t possibly be faulty Russian technology.

Three reasons behind Indian submarine disaster

India has ordered a review of its submarines’ weapons safety systems, after initial investigations showed arms on board the INS Sindhurakshak may have played a role in its sinking. The Voice of Russia has reviewed three possible reasons that led to an explosion on board Indian submarine in Mumbai dockyard on August 14.

First version – sabotage or terrorist attack

The INS Sindhurakshak exploded and sank in the Mumbai port on August 14, on the eve of India’s Independence Day. Most likely, this circumstance stirred a discussion about a possible terrorist attack. Theoretically, extremists might have planned to carry out a “demonstrative subversive act” ahead of the national holiday. However, at the very begging of the investigation into the accident in Mumbai port, the Indian authorities and the majority of local experts dismissed such a version saying that the port and the submarine were guarded around the clock, and a well-organized plot was needed to commit the sabotage.

Second version – technical failure and defect in design

The INS Sindhurakshak was built at the Admiralteiskue Shipyard in St. Petersburg in 1995, and two years later, it was handed over to the customer. In the late 2012, it underwent planned repair and was upgraded at the base of the Zvezdochka Shipbuilding Centre in Severodvinsk which is specialized in repairing the 877 Project submarines. After Indian organization accepted the submarine, it sailed some 10,000 nautical miles and reached the Mumbai port. It has been on combat duty twice. According to Indian media, the night before the accident, Sindhurakshak ended preparations for another outward bound. According to an official at the Zvezdochka Shipbuilding Centre, the specialists of the guarantee group visited the submarine on the eve of the accident, and all systems under their control were completely operable.

In short, from the experts’ point of view, technical or design defect cannot be examined as an apparent reason that led to the accident.

Third version – human factor: violation of safety standards and engineering instructions

A. As part of this version, experts are discussing first and foremost possible violations by the crew during the recharging of the submarine’s accumulators.

Hydrogen emits during the charging and exploitation of batteries, and when its concentration increases, an extremely explosive mixture is formed in the air. In this case, submarine is equipped with a hydrogen burner that is aimed at neutralizing a possible threat of an explosion.

In an interview with the Voice of Russia, retired Commodore Parambir Singh Bawa pointed to the possibility of exploding hydrogen. Several Indian dailies said that there were three explosions on board the submarine: originally, a small blast and then two powerful blasts occurred on board the submarine causing a fire. Then the submarine sank. It was suggested that originally, hydrogen exploded, and then ammunition might have exploded.

However, some experts dismiss possible explosion of hydrogen and diesel fume.

B. According to several Indian dailies, short circuit triggered by a sailor’s mistake might have caused the explosion on board the submarine.

C. Addressing the parliament Defence Minister A.K. Antony said that preliminary investigations had indicated that blasts on INS Sindhurakshak submarine were caused by “possible ignition” of armament.

The cause of ignition, has not established yet.

The Indian Defence Minister said that this would be possible only after the partially submerged submarine is afloat and dewatered.

At present, the Defence Ministry has ordered to check security systems of all submarines of the Indian Navy.

According to several local experts, if a warhead had really exploded on board the submarine, then the submarine’s forward end was completely destroyed because a warhead of a Club anti-ship missile contains 400 kilograms of powerful explosive. Most likely, the entire hull is destroyed, and it will not be expedient to repair the submarine.


http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_08_20/Three-reasons-behind-Indian-submarine-disaster-0377/

Russia marketing new Amur class submarines over proven Kilo class boats

The Amur-class submarine (Project 1650) is the export version of the Lada-class submarine (Project 677) and it would seem that Russia is aggressively marketing the new design over its existing Kilo-class boats.

Russia offering submarines to Morocco

Russian state arms export company Rosoboronexport will offer its Amur 1650 submarine to Morocco if the North African country announces a tender, the company has announced. Morocco is reportedly shopping for new submarines.

Rosoboronexport Vice-President Viktor Komardin at the International Maritime Defence Show on July 4 said that the company was “actively promoting” the Amur 1650 on the world market. He said Rosoboronexport “plans to offer it to Morocco should the kingdom announce a tender”.

ITAR-TASS quoted Komardin as saying that “if Morocco announces a tender for a submarine, we will take part and offer the Amur-1650.” He added that Rosoboronexport aims to improve military cooperation with Morocco, developing on an economic cooperation agreement. In terms of military cooperation, he noted that Russia has recently delivered Msta-S self-propelled howitzers to the North African country. “Morocco is showing an active interest in weapons for air defence and ground troops. The choice is now theirs to make,” said Komardin.

The Amur 1650, designed by the Rubin Naval Design Bureau in St Petersburg, can carry 18 missiles, torpedoes or mines (including anti-ship and cruise missiles) and can dive to 300 metres. It is an export model of the Lada class diesel-electric submarine, a modernised version of the Kilo class, featuring better acoustic stealth and new combat systems.

Provision has been made for the submarine to be fitted with an air-independent propulsion system, which would allow it to remain submerged for more than 25 days.

The Amur 1650 has been offered to meet the Indian Navy’s requirements for six submarines and is competing against France’s Scorpene, Germany’s Type 214 and Spain’s S-80, amongst others.

Morocco is enlarging its navy, having recently received three new Sigma class frigates from Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding. It will soon take delivery of a FREMM frigate from DCNS. The current Moroccan fleet includes two Floréal-class frigates and a Descubierta-class corvette in addition to some 21 patrol craft and a number of other ships and vessels.