DRDO exhibits new fuel cell-based marine propulsion system

New Delhi: A fuel cell-based marine propulsion system, which can boost the combat lethality of India’s conventional submarines several fold by enhancing their submerged endurance, was demonstrated by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Ambernath, Maharashtra on Wednesday.

The demonstration of the operational mechanism of a land-based prototype of the Air Independent Propulsion system, engineered to fit on a submarine, was carried out at the Naval Materials Research Laboratory in Ambernath in the presence of Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh.

“The Air Independent Propulsion system has a force multiplier effect on the lethality of a diesel electric submarine as it enhances the submerged endurance of the boat, several folds. Fuel cell-based AIP has merits in performance compared to other technologies,” said a statement from the Indian Navy.

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The DRDO is developing the system for the Indian Navy’s submarines that are powered by the conventional diesel-electric technology. Apart from Admiral Singh, DRDO Chairman G. Satheesh Reddy was also present during the demonstration along with other senior officials.

Admiral Singh said that the programme to develop the AIP system is of great value to the nation and urged the DRDO and Indian Navy to continue the partnership to meet the timelines set for short and long-term goals of the project. The DRDO has committed to meet quality standards and timelines for the project so that the system can be integrated into submarines that are already operational as the schedule set by the Indian Navy.

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