Navy to float Rs 50,000 crore tender for six submarines
By NC Bipindra | Published: 17th September 2013 09:16 AM |
India is preparing to issue a `50,000 crore tender to build six hi-tech conventional submarines that have now been delayed by three years, with the Navy proposal all set to be placed before the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) soon.
Navy Chief Vice Admiral R K Dhowan said here on Monday that the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), headed by Defence Minister A K Antony, had recently given its approval for the proposal to be taken up before the CCS, and once the nod from the government’s highest panel on military matters comes, the tender will be issued.
The DAC, which had met on Friday last, had for the third time in three years extended the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the second line of submarine building, which has been codenamed ‘Project 75I’.
Dhowan was addressing a press conference to introduce the nation’s first-ever five-day naval systems exposition, called NAMEXPO-2013 and organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), at Kochi from September 23.
The DAC had first approved the AoN for Project 75I in July 2010, which had expired after two years. The AoN was revived by the DAC in August 2012, when the second approval was given, and the one provided on Friday turns out to be the third. The AoN is usually valid for the first two years and subsequently renewed for a year at a time.
The AoN normally expires if the Defence Ministry fails to issue the necessary tender for the defence procurement project within the approval period, which had happened twice in the case of Project 75I now.
In the context of submarine INS Sindhurakshak’s explosion and sinking on August 14, Dhowan said the Navy was considering a refit and repair of its existing fleet of conventional submarines, which stands at 13 at present. Sindhurakshak is a Russian-origin Kilo-class submarine and with it out of action, the Navy is left with only nine in this class. It also has four other HDW class submarines in the fleet.
Kilo-class submarines were first bought by India in the late 1980s and most of them have already served their effective life of 20 years. Regarding the reasons for organising NAMEXPO, when the biennial DEFEXPO in Delhi focused on naval systems too, Dhowan said the lack of Indian indigenous capability to manufacture weapons and sensors was a “concern and challenge” and stressed the need to tap the Indian industry’s potential.