A Boost for DRDO’s AIP system

The Air Independent Propulsion system enhances the submerged endurance of the submarines several times. As compared to other technologies fuel cell AIP has merits in performance. DRDO is now set to build fuel-cell based AIP system for Indian Naval Submarines.

Air Independent Propulsion

AIP is a technology that allows the non-nuclear submarines to operate without access to atmospheric oxygen. Nuclear submarines constantly pump coolant generating some amount of noise. On the other hand, non-nuclear battery operated or AIP submarines are silent.

The fuel cell air independent propulsion converts chemical energy from fuel cell into electricity through chemical reaction of positively charged hydrogen ions with oxygen or other oxidizing agent.

Role of AIP

A modern Diesel-Electric submarines remain submerged for 4 to 5 days. They have to come to periscope level to carryout an activity called “snorkeling”. This is done to recharge their batteries. The AIP increases their underwater endurance and allows them to stay underwater for weeks together.