Rs 64,000-cr project to build submarines in India creates buzz | india | Hindustan Times
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Rs 64,000-cr project to build submarines in India creates buzz

A Rs 64,000-crore project to build high-tech submarines in the country has created a buzz at a military systems’ exhibition in Goa, with foreign manufacturers eyeing alliances with domestic shipyards in hopes of kicking off one of the costliest projects under the Make in India programme.

india Updated: Mar 29, 2016 21:16 IST
Rahul Singh
Six advanced submarines will be built to scale up the Indian Navy’s undersea warfare capabilities and counter the swift expansion of China’s submarine fleet.
Six advanced submarines will be built to scale up the Indian Navy’s undersea warfare capabilities and counter the swift expansion of China’s submarine fleet.

A Rs 64,000-crore project to build high-tech submarines in the country has created a buzz at a military systems’ exhibition in Goa, with foreign manufacturers eyeing alliances with domestic shipyards in hopes of kicking off one of the costliest projects under the Make in India programme.

Six advanced submarines will be built under project P-75I to scale up the navy’s undersea warfare capabilities and counter the swift expansion of China’s submarine fleet.

Russia, one of the competitors for the project, on Tuesday said it had begun its homework on the project aimed at building a second line of submarines in India.

“Negotiations are on...we are working on different proposals. We are open to cooperating with both public and private sector yards under the Make in India plan,” said Vladimir Drozhzhov, who heads military technical cooperation for Rostec Corporation. Rostec deals with manufacture and export of high-end products. Russia will compete for the project with its Amur 1650 submarines.

Five Indian shipyards have been shortlisted by a top government committee for the project.

The Germans, who supplied HDW Class 209 submarines to the Indian Navy, are also strong contenders for the project. German conglomerate Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems has offered India its HDW Class 214 submarine.

“It’s a very significant project for us. The Class 214 is a proven platform and we are ready to transfer critical technology on which we have spent a lot of money,” Thyssenkrupp managing director Gurnad Singh Sodhi said at DefExpo-2016. Foreign vendors are waiting for the defence ministry to release its policy on “strategic partners” to allow joint ventures with local firms for building warplanes, advanced submarines and helicopters.

The shipyards shortlisted by the high-powered panel are Mazagon Dock Limited, Hindustan Shipyard Limited, Cochin Shipyard Limited and private sector yards Pipavav and Larsen & Toubro. The new submarines will have the capability to operate underwater for several weeks with air-independent propulsion systems, greater strike power against land targets and improved stealth features that make them harder to detect. French firm DCNS plans to compete the the project with an advanced version of its Scorpene submarine.

Six Scorpene submarines are currently being built at the Mazagon Dock Ltd in Mumbai with technology from DCNS under a Rs 23,562-crore project codenamed P-75. Kalvari, the first of six diesel-electric attack submarines, is likely to be inducted into the navy by the year-end. The remaining five boats will be delivered by 2020. The 66-metre submarine can dive up to a depth of 300 metres to elude enemy detection.

The Scorpene project, plagued by cost overruns and missed deadlines, is important to the navy as its underwater capabilities have blunted over time. India operates 13 ageing conventional submarines and an Akula-II nuclear-powered attack boat leased from Russia. In contrast, China possesses 53 diesel-electric attack submarines, five nuclear attack submarines and four nuclear ballistic missile submarines.

Spain’s Navantia S-80 class and Sweden’s Saab Kockums’ with its A26 submarines have also shown interest in the P-75I. The exhibition in Goa is being attended by 1,055 Indian and foreign firms eyeing alliances under the Make in India initiative for the defence sector.

On Monday, Parrikar unveiled India’s new defence procurement rules aimed at accelerating the indigenisation plan and speeding up critical acquisitions.