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Shishumar class

Patrol submarine

Shishumar class submarine

The Shishumar class is based on a very successful and long-lived U-206 class design

Entered service 1986
Crew 40 men
Diving depth (operational) 260 m
Dimensions and displacement
Length 64.4 m
Beam 6.5 m
Draught 6 m
Surfaced displacement 1 660 tons
Submerged displacement 1 850 tons
Propulsion and speed
Surfaced speed 11 knots
Submerged speed 22 knots
Diesel engines 4 x 2 415 hp
Electric motors 1 x 4 600 hp
Torpedoes 8 x 533-mm for 14 torpedoes
Mines ground mines in place of the torpedoes


   In December 1981 the Indian government reached an agreement with Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, a German organization based in Kiel, for a four-section contract covering four conventional submarines of the Type 1500 variant of the very successful boats of the U-206 class. The four-part contract covered the construction in Germany of an initial pair of submarines of the Shishumar class, packages of equipment and components for the building of another two boats by the Mazagon Dock Ltd. of Mumbai (Bombay), the training of specialized design and construction personnel employed by Mazagon, and the provision of logistical support and consultation services during the manufacture and early service of the boats. In 1984 it was announced that another two boats would be built at Mazagon, giving the Indian navy a total of six Shishumar-class submarines, but this scheme was overtaken in the later part of the decade by changes in the thinking of the Indian navy, and in 1988 it was revealed that the arrangement with Howaldtswerke would end with the completion of the fourth boat.

   The decision was reviewed 1992 and 1997, and in 1999 the Indian navy decided to move ahead with its Project 75 for the Indian construction of three submarines of the French Scorpene class design.

   The four Shishumar boats are the Shishumar, Shankush, Shalki and Shankul. Built in Germany the first two  boats were laid down in May and September 1982 for launching in December and May 1984 and completion in September and November 1986, while the last two boats, built in India, were laid down in June 1984 and September 1989 for launching in September 1989 and March 1992 and completion in February 1992 and May 1994.

   The submarines are basically conventional with a single central bulkhead, their most notable operational features being the provision of an IKL-designed escape system. This latter comprises an integrated escape sphere able to accommodate the entire 40-man crew. This sphere can withstand the same pressure as the hull, has its own eight-hour air supply, and is outfitted for short term survival and communications.

   The eight torpedo tubes are all grouped in the bows, and provision is made for the embarkation of six reload torpedoes. The standard weapon for these tubes is an German torpedo, the AEG SUT, which is a wire-guided weapon with active/passive onboard terminal guidance. The weapon carries a 250-kt (551-lb) HE warhead, and its two primary capabilities in terms of range and speed are 28 km (17.4 miles) at 23 kts and 12 km (7.5 miles) at 35 kts. The fifth and sixth boats were to have been completed with provision for the carriage and firing of anti-ship missiles, but the existing boats lack this facility. They do have, however, provision for the addition of external strap-on carriers.

   The Shishumar started a mid-life refit in 1999, with the other boats following in order of completion, and improvements that may be retrofitted are French Eledone sonar and an Indian action data system.


Shishumar class submarine

Shishumar class submarine

Shishumar class submarine

Shishumar class submarine

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