Why in news?
- The Indian Navy is planning to acquire indigenously-made swimmer delivery vehicles — also known as underwater chariots and midget submarines.
- This is part of efforts to modernise and strengthen the capabilities of its Marine Commandos (MARCOS) for special undersea operations.
What’s in today’s article?
- Marine Commandos (MARCOS)
- The chariots
- News Summary
Marine Commandos (MARCOS)
- It is a special operations force of the Indian Navy that conducts operations in air, water, and land.
- MARCOS was founded in February 1987 and is also known as the Marine Commando Force (MCF).
- MARCOS are modelled after the US Navy SEALs and the Royal Marines.
- MARCOS are trained to conduct the following operations:
- Maritime and amphibious warfare
- Unconventional warfare
- Rescue missions
- Swift and stealthy response in denied territories
- The chariots are highly specialised platforms used by almost all advanced navies in the world.
- These are self-propelled vehicles which can be launched from ships or submarines, depending on their size and the roles they are to perform.
- In World War II, manned human torpedoes were referred to as chariots.
- These chariots come in very handy if the Navy has to operate in shallow waters.
- They can be used for a range of missions which include shallow-water surveillance, attacking the adversary’s coastal installations, and even their ships in harbour.
- The chariots allow marine commandos to access areas close to the adversary’s harbour – which submarines are not able to reach due to shallow waters.
- These chariots aid transportation of weapons and equipment to areas of operations.
- Use of chariots in India
- Not much information is publicly available on the swimmer delivery vehicles currently used by the Navy.
- Some sources point to the use of Italian-made chariots by the Navy for several years now.
- Around 2012, the Ministry of Defence had asked Hindustan Shipyard Limited to build two of these submarines.
News Summary: Navy plans to get undersea chariots, made in India, for special operations
- These chariots will be able to carry a crew of at least six and will be powered by lithium-ion batteries.
- The size of these delivery vehicles will enable divers to carry bigger cylinders in the chariots.
- This will let them stay underwater for longer hours. This, in turn, will enhance the overall operational range in shallow waters.
- The size of the chariots will also permit carriage of additional weapons for various operations.