Saturday 19 June 2021, 05:22 AM
Global submarine makers bid for 70,000 cr. order for six submarines
By Defence Monitor | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 12/22/2017 3:38:03 PM
Global submarine makers bid for 70,000 cr. order for six submarines

Global submarine makers have expressed interest in making six submarines in India and have submitted their bids to produce the undersea vessels. India is looking to make six submarines as a follow on to the six ‘scorpene class’ subs already being made under collaboration between French naval contractor Naval Group (earlier known as DCNS)  and Mazagon Docks Limited Mumbai. The first of the Scorpene was handed over to the Indian Navy in September and the remaining are slated for deliveries in batches upto 2020 Called the project 75 (I), the next lot of six vessels will be a major upgrade over the Scorpene in undersea abilities and  firepower.  

In July, the Navy had issued a Request for Information (RFI) to six foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for the €8.3-billion (Rs 70,000 crore) submarine project. The six vessels will be conventional diesel electric but shall have a mechanism called  the Air Independent Propulsion System (AIP), that allows for greater endurance under sea. A submarine has to surface to ‘breathe’ or charge its batteries. The AIP allows, the submarine to remain submerged for 5-6 days making it a potent platform to attack enemy targets. Among the six global makers invited for the RFI were Russian submarine manufacturer Rosoboronexport Rubin Design Bureau Russia, French naval contractor Naval Group (earlier DCNS), Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, Sweden’s Saab, Spain’s Navantia and Japan’s leading shipbuilders Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries. The Japanese and Spanish company have backed off from participating in the process due to various reasons.  Japan a technological power house could not sell its military technology under a constitutional obligation after the world war II (1939-1945) but has, in the recent years, changed that to allow sale to select countries.

What the new subs will have: In its RFI, the Navy has set an ambitious target. It wants the subs to have stealth capability. It wants the capability to attack targets at land, under-sea and at warships at sea surface. It is also looking at ability to launch heavy-weight torpedoes, missiles and discharge other weapons. A submarine with land attack ability is the most dangerous as it can damage enemy’s ports, crude oil off-loading terminals and refineries close to shore.The foreign companies will submit data on transfer of technology, design, construction  and the proposed design for torpedo tubes,  which could launch heavy-weight torpedoes, missiles and discharge other weapons also. The selected foreign partner is expected to transfer technology and it will be one of the benchmarks for selection. The SP Model and the process: The contenders will have to submit their technical and commercial bids after a formal tender or request for proposal (RFP) will be issued for submissions. One of the makers will be selected under the newly crafted ‘strategic partnership’ model to make the vessels in India. Under the defence ministry and its "strategic partnership" policy, there will be a parallel process to narrow down Indian shipyard for the collaboration with selected vendors. 

At the end of this year the best bidder is set to be announced.  Under the strategic partnership model the Ministry of Defence shall select the Indian partner. Leading private and public sector shipyards have already announced their tie-ups. On being shortlisted, the qualified foreign technology provider ad Indian partner, will be issued an expression of interest (EoI) by the Navy. The foreign partners will show how they are qualified to build the six submarines with a partner in India. The Indian companies will have to gear up with trained manpower, technology and machinery to absorb this know-how. The Indian partner will have to spend a huge sum in setting up the unit and  an assembly line as  per international standards. This is likely to  be the first project under the strategic partnership  model and will lay the foundation for ‘make in India’.The whole process for an original equipment manufacturer-Indian shipyard to collaborate with the selected company will take around two years and another seven to eight months for the submarine to roll out after the deal is sealed.

The threat from China: For Naval planners, the worrisome part,  is that China’s submarine fleet—of nuclear and conventionally powered—is four times that of India’s.The Indian battle-ready under-sea fleet of diesel electric vessels is at present down to 14: nine Kilo-class (EKMs), four German-designed HDWs (SSKs) and one Akula class nuclear-powered submarine (SSN) on a 10-year lease from Russia (since 2012). The Navy plans to have 22 submarines by 2021-22 and is looking at. In comparison, China is rapidly expanding its submarine fleet. The US Department of Defence, in its annual report to the US Congress, has spelled out the rise of China’s submarine fleet. The report, “Military and security developments involving the People’s Republic of China 2016”, says: “The People’s Liberation Army Navy places a high priority on the modernisation of its submarine force and presently possesses 61 vessels. By 2020, this force will likely grow to between 69 and 78 submarines.”

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submarine,expressed,undersea,vessels,designed,Defence,worrisome

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