Indian Navy Kalvari Class submarine Vagir has been welcomed into Fleet Base West for the first official visit of an Indian submarine to Australia.
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The 67-metre long, diesel-electric “Sand Shark” submarine is on extended range deployment across the Indian Ocean to Fremantle after leaving the Sri Lankan port of Colombo in June. The trip is marked as the longest deployment for the vessel or any other Scorpene Class, covering a distance of more than 7000 kilometres from the home port of Mumbai to Perth.
On deployment off the Western Australia coast, the Vagir was tasked with underwater drills and maritime exercises involving Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Airforce personnel, while Indian Naval ships and aircraft are involved in Exercise Malabar 2023 on the east coast of Australia.
“During the ongoing deployment, basic, intermediate, and advanced-level anti-submarine exercises are scheduled,” an Indian Navy statement said.
“In addition, the RAN submarine and Indian Naval P8i aircraft are scheduled to exercise with INS Vagir. This deployment will further augment the cooperation and synergy between IN and RAN.
“The ongoing deployment is a testament to the reach and sustenance of IN submarines. The extended range deployment is the maiden deployment by an IN submarine to Australia and showcases the capability and professional acumen of IN to undertake sustained operations at extended ranges from the base port for prolonged durations.”
INS Vagir is based on the French Scorpene type submarine design and constructed domestically by Mumbai’s Mazagon Dock Limited shipyard with assistance from France’s Naval Group, before being commissioned into the Indian Navy as the fifth Kalvari Class submarine in January this year. The submarine is reportedly conventionally-armed with 18 torpedoes, anti-ship missiles, and mines.
An Australian Defence Force spokesperson said the Royal Australian Navy welcomed the crew of Indian Naval Submarine Vagir during a visit to Fleet Base West.
“The visit marked the first time an Indian Navy submarine had visited Australia and included maritime exercises off the coast of Western Australia involving ADF personnel and assets,” they said.
“A harbour phase provided opportunities for professional development, sporting activities, and face-to-face engagement between military personnel from India and Australia.
“This visit is a testament to the strong strategic partnership between our countries.”
A sixth Kalvari Class submarine, the Vagsheer, is currently awaiting commissioning to the Indian Navy early next year.