MDL Unveils 'Arowana' Midget Submarine, Capable Of Landing Marine Commandos On Enemy Shores

Ujjwal Shrotryia

May 15, 2024, 06:19 PM | Updated 06:36 PM IST

MDL's 'Arowana', scaled version of its midget submarine. (PIB)
MDL's 'Arowana', scaled version of its midget submarine. (PIB)

Mazagaon Docks Limited (MDL) yesterday (15 May) unveiled a scaled model of its Arowana Midget Submarine.

The submarine was launched in the presence of Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane. According to a press release by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Arowana is a proof of concept developed by MDL.

MDL is also parallelly working on the development of a full-scale submarine, whose design, the press release states, will be completed by 2028.

Midget submarines are small-sized submarines, primarily used for landing marine commandos on enemy shores. These submarines carry Swimmer Delivery Vehicles (SDVs) for this purpose.

They are usually very lightweight, displacing anywhere between 450 to 500 tonnes, compared to the heavier 1,800 tonnes displacement of conventional submarines. Their small displacement allows for operation even in shallow waters, close to the shores, without the risk of grounding.

MDL also manufactures the French-designed Scorpene class submarines under license. These submarines are known by the name Kalvari class in Indian Navy service.

It is building six submarines, the last of which, INS Vagsheer, will likely be delivered to the navy sometime in the middle of this year. There are also plans to make three more Scorpene submarines to make up for the shortfall and old age of India’s submarine fleet.

MDL is also partnering with Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems to manufacture six advanced Project-75I submarines with significant transfer of technology (ToT).

Scaled Model of L&T's midget submarine SOV 400. (X/ @DefenceDecode)
Scaled Model of L&T's midget submarine SOV 400. (X/ @DefenceDecode)

The other contender is Spain, which is partnering with Larsen and Toubro (L&T).

L&T has also shown models of a midget submarine called SOV 400. This submarine will be a direct competitor to MDL’s Arowana midget submarine.

Staff Writer at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.

Get Swarajya in your inbox.