DRDO and L&T join hands on Indian Navy’s Kalvari-class submarines

Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and DRDO have signed a contract for realisation of two air-independent propulsion (AIP) system modules for the Kalvari-class of submarines of the Indian Navy.

Illustration. Indian Navy photo of a Kalvari-class submarine

As informed, these modules constitute the core of the fuel cell based AIP system, indigenously developed by Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL) of DRDO with L&T as prime industry partner.

The energy modules (EMs) comprising fuel cells produce the required power, along with on-board hydrogen generation. 

The technology of this indigenous AIP system generates hydrogen on demand thereby obviating the need for carrying hydrogen onboard which is a major safety concern for a submarine.

On realisation and integration of these modules in the submarines, India will join nations who have indigenously developed fuel cell based submarine AIP technology

Furthermore, this technology is a green one since the by-product of the reaction is non-polluted water which can be released into the oceans.

Commenting on the development, Shri Arun Ramchandani said: “L&T is privileged to be associated with accomplishing the dream of realising an indigenous AIP system and mark India‘s joining a select group of few nations who have developed the requisite technology.”

L&T is the recipient of the transfer of technology (ToT) for this DRDO-developed AIP System. The documents were handed during Aero India 2021 In Bangalore.

The manufacturing, integration and factory acceptance trials of the EMs will be undertaken in L&T’s AM Naik Heavy Engineering Complex at Surat. The EMs will be supplied for integration into the AIP Plug that will be retrofitted into the submarine.

This project would pave the way for order(s) for AIP Systems for the remaining five Kalvari-class submarines in the coming years.

This could also open up possible export opportunities to other countries that operate Scorpene class submarines, the partners concluded.