Home » India issues tender for mega Rs 50,000 crore submarine project | India News

India issues tender for mega Rs 50,000 crore submarine project | India News

    NEW DELHI: The government on Tuesday issued the tender for the long-pending Rs 50,000 crore (almost $7 billion) project to construct six new-generation conventional stealth submarines with foreign collaboration, as part of the long-term plan to counter China’s expanding naval presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
    The defence ministry issued the RFP (request for proposal) to defence shipyard Mazagon Docks (MDL) and private ship-builder Larsen & Toubro, who in turn will tie-up with one of the five shortlisted foreign companies to submit techno-commercial bids for the mega diesel-electric submarine-building programme called `Project-75 India (P-75I)’.
    The foreign ship-builders are Naval Group-DCNS (France), Rosoboronexport (Russia), ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (Germany), Navantia (Spain) and Daewoo (South Korea).
    The selection of the winning bid after submission and the inking of the actual contract is likely to take well over a year from now. Thereafter, it will take another seven years for the first new submarine to roll out, with the selected foreign firm providing transfer of technology (ToT) for vessel design, maintenance and setting up the production line in India. The other five submarines will subsequently roll out one per year, as per the proposed timeline.
    The submarines will be armed with a total of 18 land-attack cruise missiles and heavyweight torpedoes as well as equipped with fuel-cell based air-independent propulsion (AIP) for greater underwater endurance.
    The Rajnath Singh-led Defence Acquisitions Council on June 4 had cleared the decks for P-75I, which will be the first project under the “strategic partnership” policy promulgated in May 2017 to boost indigenous defence production.
    Incidentally, none of the major six to seven “Make in India” defence projects, collectively worth over Rs 3.5 lakh crore, have actually kicked off in the last seven years, as was first reported by TOI.
    P-75I was first granted ‘acceptance of necessity’ way back in November 2007. As per approved plans, India should have at least 18 diesel-electric conventional submarines, six nuclear-powered attack submarines (called SSNs) and four nuclear-powered submarines armed with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles (called SSBNs).
    But India is currently grappling with a fast-depleting underwater combat arm at a time when Chinese warships and submarines are making regular forays to the IOR.
    The Navy has 12 very old diesel-electric submarines, with just half of them operational at any given time, and one more slated to retire this year. The force has also so far inducted three of the six French-origin Scorpene submarines being constructed under the over Rs 23,000 crore `Project-75’ underway at MDL.
    On the nuclear submarine front, India has a solitary SSBN in the shape of INS Arihant, which is armed with short-range ballistic missiles and became fully-operational in late-2018 to somewhat complete the `nuclear triad’ after the land-based Agni missiles and fighter jets. The second SSBN, INS Arighat, will be commissioned this year.
    Concurrently, another project to build six SSNs is pending with the Cabinet Committee on Security for the final nod. Construction of three of the six SSNs, each weighing over 6,000-tonne and costing around Rs 15,000 crore, is likely to be cleared in the first go, as was first reported by TOI.
    China, incidentally, already has the world’s largest Navy with 350 warships, including 50 conventional and 10 nuclear submarines, and plans to reach a force-level of 420 by the end of this decade.
    Pakistan, too, is on course to get eight Yuan-class diesel electric submarines with AIP, four Type-054A multi-role stealth frigates and other naval platforms and weapons from China under deals worth over $7 billion.



    Source link