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Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) System : Final Test

Final Development Test Of Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) System:

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has conducted the final development test of the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) System, crucial for diesel-electric submarines.

Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) System:

  • Submarines are essentially of two types: conventional and nuclear.
  • Conventional submarines use diesel-electric engines, which require them to surface almost daily to get atmospheric oxygen for fuel combustion.
  • If fitted with an Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system, the submarine will need to take in oxygen only once a week.
  • The indigenously-developed AIP, which is one of the key missions of the Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL), is considered one of the ambitious projects of the DRDO for the Navy.
  • The project aims at fitting the technology on India’s Scorpene-class submarine INS Kalvari around 2023.
  • The AIP system based submarines will be required to surface much less frequently, thus increasing their lethality and stealth multifold.
  • Diesel-electric submarines require them to come to the surface frequently to charge their batteries, thus their underwater endurance time is less.
  • ‘Air-independent’ propulsion technology helps to make the diesel generator less dependent on surface air.
  • While there are different types of AIP systems being pursued internationally, fuel cell-based AIP of NMRL is unique as the hydrogen is generated onboard.
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