Indian Navy To Issue $ 11.10 Billion Tender For Six New Subamrines By Year End
|The Indian government has finally cleared Project-75 India (P-75 I) which entails the acquisition of another six submarines for the Indian Navy to plug the gap in the naval fleet. The Indian government has indicated that the tender for the same will be given by year end and the new Request of Information (RFI) is being presently processed.|
At present, six Scorpene submarines are being built at the state-owned Mazagon Docks in collaboration with DCNS of France. The six new submarines for the P-75I project is the next phase of the same submarine project and will be worth over $ 11.10 billion. According to the Indian Navy, the new submarines will differ from the earlier lot since the qualitative requirements have been altered. The new submarines will have air-independent propulsion (AIP) to enable sustenance under water for longer duration. In addition, there will be advanced detection range and combat management system besides better sensors for optimum performance. The weapon system would be a mix of torpedoes and missiles.
The six new submarines in P-75 I project will outline various critical parameters including the weight and design of the submarine. The Project 75I submarines are expected to be bigger than the 1800-ton Scorpene class being built for P-75 project. The AIP systems will enable greater underwater endurance and land-attack missiles. Besides, they will also incorporate stealth, land-attack capability and other technological advancements.
In December last year, India had indicated that three of the six new submarines will be constructed at Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL) in Mumbai and one at Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL) in Visakhapatnam, with the help of a foreign collaborator. The other two submarines will either be imported from the foreign vendor directly or constructed at a private shipyard in India. According to sources, each of these six diesel-electric submarines are estimated to cost almost $ 1.8 billion. France's DCNS hopes to be the leading contender for the new order of submarines.
As for the earlier P-75 submarine project, it has been lagging behind the original schedule and as per the revised schedule, the first submarine from the P-75 project is expected to be with the Indian Navy by 2015 and the last by 2018. Due to inordinate delays, this new schedule has pushed the delivery by three years. DCNS has cited that the complex nature of the project has led to such delays. DCNS had bagged the contract for supplying six Scorpene submarines to India under a $ 4 billion contract signed in 2005.
Meanwhile, state-owned Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is working on the development of a land-based demonstrator followed by the creation of an Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system that will revolutionize the functions of the current diesel and electric submarines. The creation of a fully operational version of an AIP will substantially cut down the time spent by the submarine on snorting or resurfacing for battery recharge. The creation of the AIP will considerably improve the sub-surface performance of the submarines and decrease its susceptibility to attacks. Sources said that the DRDO has been requested by the Indian Navy to create a fully engineered fuel cell AIP by 2014. This will enable the possible use of the indigenous AIP in the last two of the six Scorpene submarines being built in Mumbai's Mazagaon Dock Limited (MDL).