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Last Soviet-built Project 641 sub was decommissioned from Indian Navy

Last Soviet-built Project 641 sub was decommissioned from Indian Navy 09.12.2010
Text: RusNavy.com
Photo: INS Vagli. hindu.com
Having finished her 36-year service in Indian Navy, the last Project 641 (Foxtrot class) diesel electric submarine delivered to India by the USSR was decommissioned on Dec 9, next day after celebration of Indian Submarine Fleet Day, reports Tehelka.com.

The India's oldest operational submarine INS Vagli carried out her last dive on July 21, 2010 and currently stays in Vishakhapatnam. The sub was commissioned on Aug 10, 1974 in Riga and has carried out numerous patrols off Indian coast.

Previously in 2010 Indian Navy decommissioned another Project 641 sub INS Vela which had been in service since 1973.

Indian Navy's submarine fleet has not been renewed for 17 years now. According to Comptroller and Auditor-General of India Vinod Rai, national submarine fleet is getting old and service life of 63 per cent of Indian subs will expire by 2012. Greater half of submarines are 75% worn, some of them even overlived assigned decommissioning term. That could substantially influence the combat readiness of Indian Navy.

If construction rates are not speeded up, service life of 63% operational subs will expire by 2012 when nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant will expectedly join Indian Navy.

As of today, Indian Navy has 14 submarines in inventory; only 8-9 of them remain operable. Delivery of six French-built Scorpene class subs is delayed because of disagreement on technology transfer issues.

Realizing the complexity of the situation, Indian government ordered to start unscheduled building of 6 non-nuclear subs, first of them will be ready for commission in 2015.

Project 641 (Foxtrot class) is one of the most successful projects of Soviet submarines. Out of 75 subs built in Leningrad, 17 were exported to India, Poland, Libya, and Cuba. The first Foxtrot class submarine was laid down in 1957 and joined Soviet Navy in 1958. Foxtrot class submarine's length is 104 meters; beam is 7.4 meters; draft is 5.9 meters; surface displacement is 1,952 tons; submerged displacement is 2,475 tons; speed is 16 knots; operating depth is 280 meters; test depth is 380 meters; endurance is 90 days; crew is 78 men. Armament: 533-mm torpedo tubes (six in bows and four in stern); combat load is 22 torpedoes.

By the time when the last Project 641 submarine was constructed in 1984, the project became obsolete. Some Foxtrot class subs were turned into museums in Kaliningrad, Vyterga (Vologda region, Russia), Long Beach (USA), and Vishakhapatnam (India).

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