Mumbai / New Delhi: The Indian Navy’s fourth stealth scorpene class submarine, INS Vela was commissioned today, November 25, 2021. The submarine has been built by Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in collaboration with Naval Group of France. The previous avataar of INS Vela was commissioned on August 31, 1973 and rendered yeoman service to the nation for 37 eventful years before being decommissioned in 2010. The new Vela is a potent man o’ war and is capable of offensive operations that span across the entire spectrum of maritime warfare. Induction of the submarine consolidates the Indian Navy’s position as a builder’s Navy significantly and adds sharpness and strength to its combat capability.
The submarine was designated as ‘Yard 11878’ during its construction. The submarine is the fourth of the Scorpene class. The association of numerous Indian companies in building the platform makes it a true representation of the ‘Make in India’ concept. The construction of the submarine commenced with the first cutting of steel on July 14, 2009. The submarine was launched and named Vela on May 6, 2019. After extensive system, machinery and weapon trials, the submarine was handed over by MDL to the Indian Navy on November 9, 2021.
The commissioning ceremony in the presence of Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of the Naval Staff marked the formal induction of the submarine into the Indian Navy as INS Vela today. ‘Commissioning’ is an age old ceremonial tradition and one of the most significant milestones amongst the many others that brings a ship/submarine to life. The ceremony will not only entitle the submarine to fly the naval ensign and the national flag, but also recognise her as a legitimate and sovereign representative of India.
The new Vela carries forward the legacy of her namesake, the erstwhile INS Vela, the lead boat of Vela class submarines. Apart from being a training ground for many submariners, she had several noteworthy operational achievements during her long and illustrious career. The submarine rendered yeoman service to the nation for 37 years and was the longest operational submarine at the time of decommissioning.
The new Vela once dived, she is truly poised for the kill with very impressive stealth and strength. Vela is fitted with advanced weapons and sensors. All of these are integrated into the Submarine Tactical Integrated Combat System known as SUBTICS. Once a target is classified, the submarine may choose to engage it using either her sea skimming missiles also known as Flying Fish or heavy weight wire – guided torpedoes.
Vela has taken the ‘Make in India ‘spirit a notch higher with the fitment indigenised battery cells, which power a very silent permanently magnetised propulsion motor. The construction of the submarine under the supervision of in-house design overseeing team of MDL, naval engineers from Submarine Design Group (SDG), Submarine Overseeing Team (SOT) and training crew by Indian Training Team (ITT) is a major milestone towards ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.
The traditional crest for Indian Naval ships consists of three sail ships on top symbolising India’s rich maritime history. The ribbon of crown depicts the Ashoka wheel surrounded by a horse and a bull. A ring of lotus buds encircles the unique motif of each ship. Vela, being named after a type of Indian fish belonging to the stingray family, the crest depicts the fish swimming across the blue seas. The stingray is known for stealth, aggression and offensive power. Its flat body allows it to sit on the bottom of the ocean, camouflage itself to predators swimming above as it lurks for its prey underneath.
The submarine’s mascot is the Sub-ray which is an amalgamation of the submarine and the stingray. It symbolises the metamorphosis of the submarine’s character with the qualities of a stingray. The submarine’s logo depicts the Sub-ray lurking in the sea with the backdrop of the national flag symbolizing the unit being dedicated to the national cause.
The submarine’s motto “VIGILANT, VALIANT, VICTORIOUS” epitomizes the submarine’s spirit in achieving the tasks at hand. The motto inspires the crew to the alert and prepared always to face and surmount all challenges the submarine faces, and emerge triumphant every time.