Indian Navy wants three variants of the underwater vessel namely for detection/inspection, combat and training role. In fact, the Navy will purchase five underwater vehicles which may go up later. The purchase order is expected to be approximately $95 million: half of the total deal amount has to be invested in India under an offset clause of India’s Defense Procurement Policy 2016.
The GPS and inertial navigation system-enabled, 360-degrees maneuverable portable automatic underwater vehicles (PAUV) would be self-propelled using horizontal and vertical thrusters and onboard chargeable battery pack. The Navy wants PAUV to be deployable in rigid-hulled inflatable boats, inflatable crafts, and helicopters. An Indian Navy document demands two hours endurance capacity of the PAUV which can be controllable at a speed of five knots.
The automatic underwater vehicle should be capable of operating specialized equipment to locate using sonar, identify using cameras and disposal of mines using shaped charge. “Two-man PAUV is envisaged to be used in support of detection, identification and disposal of mines, mine-like objects, IED, or other ordnance,” the Indian Navy document said.
With just four minesweepers out of the 24 required to secure its region from minefields, the Indian Navy is in dire straits with the existing four also due to be decommissioned next year. There is no news of any induction of new minesweepers. “This major capability void could be overcome by the Indian Navy, at least temporarily, by deploying integral mine-avoidance equipment like side-scan sonars on board major warships,” Gurpreet S. Khurana, Captain (Indian Navy) and Executive Director of National Maritime Foundation, said.
Global defense manufacturers like General Dynamics, Textron Systems, Atlas Elektronik, SAAB, and DCNS are capable of delivering these underwater vehicles