India’s ambitious Rs 23,562-crore project to build six Scorpene submarines is likely to miss the revised delivery schedule of 2015. The project is already delayed by three years.
This was admitted by Defence Minister A K Antony in the Lok Sabha on Monday, in a written reply to the members’ questions on the Mumbai-based Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL), which is constructing the six Scorpene submarines under licence from French firm DCNS, putting up a proposal for further extension of the delivery date.
“The proposal of the MDL for further extension of delivery date is under examination,” Antony said.
He said the Scorpene project’s Spanish consultants had returned to their home country, following the expiry of their consultancy term.
Antony was asked if the Spanish consultants had left the project and whether the Scorpene project would again miss the revised delivery target of 2015. He said the collaboration agreement on the Scorpene project between DCNS and MDL provided for an Advising and Overseas Team (AOT) during the Scorpene submarines construction period of 87 months.
“This AOT of DCNS also had a few persons from Navantia, Spain, as subcontractors, who have since returned to Spain on completion of their term,” he added.
Antony said several reasons had contributed to it, including delay in augmentation of infrastructure, procurement of material by the MDL and absorption of new processes and procedures of completely new technology.
“However, the MDL has taken up the construction of six submarines concurrently, placed orders for complete material package required for construction of submarines, augmented its manpower and infrastructure while outsourcing certain tasks to mitigate the delay”.
The Scorpene project was approved in September 2005 at a cost of `18,798 crore, but was revised to `23,562 crore in February 2010, following time overruns in the project. The delivery schedule too had been revised from the original 2012 to 2015.