Directorate of Public Relations, Ministry of Defence tweeted with the hashtag #happyhunting to announce a significant development for India’s strategic naval program. INS Vela was commissioned into the Indian navy today. Here’s all you should know about the Indin navy’s formidable attack submarine:

Vela is designed to act as “sea denial” as well as “access denial” warfare to the enemy. It is a diesel-electric powered attack submarine. 

INS Vela

In a typical war scenario, a navy’s surface ships like aircraft carriers and destroyers aim for sea control with their firepower and superior numbers, Sea denial is when the submarine fleet prevents enemy warships and submarines from entering our vicinity or waters by preventing them from leaving their waters or harbours. 

It’s not the first submarine to wear the Vela badge. The first INS Vela (S40) was the lead ship of four diesel-electric Vela-class submarines. This Indian Navy submarine was commissioned in August 1973 and decommissioned in 2010 after a 37-year run. At that time, India’s Eastern Naval command claimed that it was the oldest operational submarine in the world.

INS Vela

The Vela is the fourth of a fleet of six Scorpene-class submarines to be commissioned. Sea trials are underway for INS Vagir while Vagsheer, the sixth in the fleet is under construction. 

They are built in Mazagaon Docks in Mumbai and designed by French naval defence and energy group Naval Group as part of Project 75. This is part of the government’s Make in India push. These submarines will feature advanced capabilities including air-independent propulsion (that allows a non-nuclear submarine to operate without access to atmospheric oxygen), anti-ship warfare, anti-surface warfare and land-attack capabilities. 

INS Vela

Vela is 67.5 metres long and has a height of 12.3 metres. The beam measures 6.2 metres. It can hit a top speed of 20 knots when submerged and boasts of a maximum surface speed of 11 knots. 

The submarine has four MTU 12V 396 SE84 diesel engines and 360 battery cells for power. The hull, fin and hydroplanes are designed for minimum underwater resistance and all equipment inside the pressure hull is mounted on shock-absorbing cradles for enhanced stealth.

INS Vela

Stealth is the key for a submarine. Submarines achieve this by reducing the noise from the engine and boat’s internal systems. The Scorpenes are powered by a quiet Permanently Magnetised Propulsion motor that drives it underwater. 

The submarine can engage in offensive operations across the entire spectrum of naval warfare, including anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, mine laying and area surveillance. It boasts of advanced stealth and combat capabilities that include Advanced acoustic silencing techniques, low radiated noise levels. It features a hydrodynamically optimised shape and can launch attacks on the adversary using precision-guided weapons.

INS Vela

The submarine is equipped with a C303 anti-torpedo countermeasure system, and can carry up to 18 torpedoes or Exocet anti-ship missiles or 30 mines in place of torpedoes. Vela can carry up to 8 officers and 35 men and will be based in Mumbai, as part of the Indian Navy’s Western Command.