October 20, 2015
Russia selling land attack Klub Missiles to India, Kilo sub upgrade
A submarine launched land attack Klub ("Sizzler") cruise missile. Note that the more accurate designation for such a Klub is 3M-14E Klub S - DOD designation SS-N-30B. Basic length 6.2 m, 450 kg warhead. Range 300km. Russia is also selling SLCM land attack Klubs to Vietnam for use by Vietnamese Kilos.
INS Sindhukesari is to be the first Indian Kilo sub to receive the land attack Klub upgrade. (Photo courtesy Indian Navy via IDRW-Org)
Following Russia’s October 8, 2015 demonstration that it can operate land attack cruise missiles over long distances a Russian upgrade to some of India’s Type 877 (older version) EKM (export model) Kilo submarines is interesting.
India's 9 working Kilos are known as the Sindhughosh class. They have had anti-ship capable Klub (NATO name is "Sizzler") missiles for several years. Now the Klubs on 4 Kilos will be augmented by or replaced by land attack capable Klubs.
The Indian Navy is signing the $771 million contract with Russia to extend the service life of the 4 to 35 years. Thirty years is the international average. The contract is with Russian shipbuilder Zvezdochka and will be sending the first submarine, INS Sindhukesari, for the refit in Severodvinsk Russia, in June 2016. Once INS Sindhukesari is refitted the Indian Navy will decide whether to upgrade the remaining 3 Kilos in India or again in Russia. If in India the 3 Kilos will be refitted with Zvezdochka’s assistance by India’s Reliance Defence and Aerospace company at the Pipavav shipyard in Gujarat.
The Russian Navy has done this 'second refit' to its own Kilo fleet.
Russia is also selling SLCM land attack Klubs to Vietnam for use by Vietnamese Kilos.
1. It is interesting that just 4 Kilos are to be refitted instead of all 9 servicable Kilos. This is noting the 10th INS Sindhurakshak suffered a catastrophic explosion/fire in August 2013 and is probably a write-off. First to be refitted, INS Sindhukesari, is one of the most recent 4 servicable Indian Sindhughosh class Kilos built. If modernity is the criteria then the other three to be upgraded might be INS Sindhukirti then INS Sindhuvijay, then INS Sindhurashtra.
2. It is interesting how the land attack Klub program interplays with other Indian SLCM programs including BrahMos (300 km range) and Nirbhay (1,000 km) programs. Any of these SLCMs could be made nuclear tipped. Nuclear tipped Klubs may be a response to the possibility of nuclear tipped Pakistani SLCMs.
3, If the land attack Klubs were nuclear tipped how would they relate to K-15 (700-1,000 km) shorter range SLBM plans?
4. Under MTCR land attack Klubs would officially be limited to 300 km range but given Russia’s recent 2,000 km range Kalibr demonstration a longer range Klub may be India's more quiet wish.
5. It is unclear with this October 2015 refitting plan cancels or is in addition to a July 2015 Indian Kilo refitting plan.
see October 19, 2015 report http://www.defenseworld.net/news/14343/Indian_Navy_Sign__771_Million_Contract_With_Russia_To_Refit_kilo_Class_Submarines#.ViXMHX4rIgu
A full list of Indian submarines is here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_submarines_of_the_Indian_Navy
Posted by Peter Coates