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.