Sunday, March 24, 2013

Scorpene subs to have a Kerala touch

The Indian Navy's soon-to-be-inducted next generation Scorpene 'killer' submarines, currently being constructed at the Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL) in Mumbai, under a multi-billion dollar French deal will feature speciality rubber components from the state's latex county.

The Kottayam-based Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) has developed the special silicone rubber formulation which will be used to develop components for the submarines. The synthetic rubber formulation was developed by the RRII under a research and development project granted by the National Institute for Research and Development in Defence Shipbuilding (Nirdesh), the country's biggest research institute in defence shipbuilding, coming up at Chaliyam in Kozhikode.

Nirdesh project director Capt Ramesh Babu said that the indigenization of the rubber components in the six Scorpene submarines being built would alone help the country make cost savings to the tune of Rs 4 crore. It will be the first success in the fledgling institute's mandate for indigenization of defence production capabilities.

He said that RRII scientists recently visited the Mazagon dock where the Scorpene submarine project is underway

to have a look at the silicone rubber components used in submarine building. They were able to identify the composition of the material and have produced the formulation at the RRII lab in just two months' time.

"The RRII has also started sample production of the material, the physical properties of which closely matches the silicone rubber element used in submarine," sources said.

Capt Babu said that silicone rubber is used to make as many as 800 components in a Scorpene submarine, mainly insulating and shock-absorbing material. This item has been specifically chosen as the Scorpene contract allows indigenous production of the item. "It is estimated that Rs 1.5 crore worth of silicone rubber components are needed in a single submarine. If we are able to successfully indigenize its production, there would be a savings of at least Rs 4 crore. We expect the prototypes to be developed in June and we hope to go for commercial product by calling expression of interest from Indian manufacturers," he added.

He said that Nirdesh will help the country's premier R&D institutes gain a foothold in the defence ship-building sector. "Within just three months, we have received half-a-dozen R&D projects from institutions across the country," he said.

1 comment:

  1. If I were India, I would see if I can sell some to Thailand, Philippines and Taiwan as well.



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