New Delhi: Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and DRDO have signed a contract for realisation of two Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) System Modules for Kalvari Class of Submarines of the Indian Navy. The contract documents have been exchanged between Arun T Ramchandani, Executive Vice President and Head-L&T Defence and PT Rojatkar, Director of Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL) in the presence of J D Patil, Member of Executive Committee of Management and Advisor (Defence & Smart Technologies) to CEO & MD Larsen & Toubro Limited & Senior officials from NMRL and L&T.
These modules constitute the core of the fuel cell-based AIP System, indigenously developed by NMRL of DRDO with L&T as prime industry partner, an association spanning more than a decade. The Energy Modules (EMs) comprising Fuel Cells produce the required power, along with on-board Hydrogen generation. The technology of this indigenous AIP system is a unique one that 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 an elite club of a handful of nations who have indigenously developed fuel cell-based submarine AIP technology which is critical for increasing the endurance of conventional submarines. It is pertinent to mention here that principally this technology is a green one since the by-product of the reaction is non-polluted water which can be released into the oceans.
L&T is the recipient of transfer of technology (ToT) for this DRDO developed AIP System. The transfer of technology documents for the same were handed over to Patil by the Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in the presence of Chief of Defence Staff and Navy Chief 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. State-of-the-art infrastructure, best practices at L&T and cutting-edge technology will ensure requisite quality and on-time delivery. 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 orders 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," L&T said in an official statement.