New Delhi: The Indian Navy is planning to procure five midget submarines for its Marine Commandos (MARCOS) component. The midgets will strengthen the MARCOS ability to carry out special underwater operations in high seas.
Weighing less than 150 tonnes the submarines are classified as midgets and are used by navies to carry out underwater covert operations and surveillance missions.
According to defence ministry sources, the Indian Navy has already initiated the process of procuring these vessels.
With capacity of carrying four to six personnel on board, the submarines would have a diving depth of around 400 metres.
The midgets will have the capability of carrying out both manned and unmanned operations and will be equipped with a host of weapons including torpedoes.
The Indian Navy currently maintains a fleet of diesel-electric submarines. It has also signed a deal for six Scorpene submarines which will begin joining the Indian Navy from 2012 onwards.
The first of the country's indigenously designed and built nuclear-powered submarines of the Arihant class are expected to be commissioned starting 2011.
India will also induct a Russian Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine on lease sometime in the second quarter of 2010. It is conjectured that India may have struck deal for the supply of two of these submarines for an amount of $2 billion. At the end of the lease period India retains an option to buy them.