Indigenous Swimmer Delivery Vehicles

The Indian Navy is set to acquire indigenously-made swimmer delivery vehicles, often referred to as underwater chariots or midget submarines, as part of a strategy to enhance the capabilities of its Marine Commandos (MARCOS) for special undersea operations. The Navy is collaborating with the industry to design these vehicles, and the prototype will be developed based on these specifications. This initiative aligns with the broader goal of modernizing and strengthening the Navy’s capabilities.

Key Features

These underwater chariots, designed for special undersea operations, will be powered by lithium-ion batteries and have the capacity to carry a crew of at least six members. The Navy aims to procure several dozen chariots after the initial prototype receives clearance.

Operational Advantages

The size of these delivery vehicles allows divers to carry larger cylinders, extending their underwater stay and enhancing operational range in shallow waters. Additionally, the chariots’ size permits the carriage of extra weapons, further enhancing their operational capabilities.


Swimmer delivery vehicles are crucial for undersea operations, providing advanced navies with the capability to operate in shallow waters, conduct surveillance, and target coastal installations of adversaries, including ships in harbor.

Historical Context

During World War II, manned human torpedoes, often referred to as chariots, were employed for various missions. The modern swimmer delivery vehicles serve similar purposes, offering a range of missions, including shallow-water surveillance and attacks on coastal installations.

Current Usage in Other Navies

These specialized platforms are utilized by advanced navies globally. For instance, the Pakistan Navy reportedly uses a small submarine, a fraction of the size of a regular one, for special operations. The swimmer delivery vehicles enable commandos to access areas close to an adversary’s harbor, where submarines may face limitations due to shallow waters.



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