NEW DELHI: The Defence Ministry on Friday cleared a mega project to domestically build six conventional submarines for the Indian Navy at a cost of around Rs 43,000 crore, in a major decision aimed at significantly boosting India's naval prowess in the face of rapid expansion of China's maritime capabilities.
The submarines will be built under the much-talked-about strategic partnership model that allows domestic defence manufacturers to join hands with leading foreign defence majors to produce high-end military platforms to reduce import dependence, government sources said. The Strategic Partnership (SP) policy intends to encourage broader participation of the private sector, in addition to DPSUs/OFB, in the manufacture of defence platforms and equipment.
The Ministry of Defence in its statement said, “This project envisages indigenous construction of six conventional submarines equipped with the state-of-the-art Air Independent Propulsion system at an estimated cost of Rs 43,000 crore.” Procurement of Air Defence Guns and Ammunition at an approximate cost of Rs 6,000 crore under the Buy & Make (Indian) category was also approved.
The decision to approve the project named 'P-75 India' was taken at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The sources said the DAC approved the issuance of the Request for Proposal (RFP) or tender to shipbuilder Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and state-owned Mazagaon Docks Ltd (MDL).
Going by the processes followed in all defence-related manufacturing projects, the first Submarine under the project will get ready in next about 10 years. “In a month, the RFP will be sent to the Indian companies shortlisted under the Strategic Partnership model. They will be given three months to reply. Then the technical evaluation will be done and contracts will be signed.
Once the contracts are signed, the infrastructure building shall start along with the Transfer of Technology and Training by the OEM and the manufacturing will begin.
“With this project, the country will be enabled to achieve its 30-year submarine construction programme envisioned by the Government to acquire national competence in submarine construction,.” MoD said.
Under the Project 75, six Scorpene Class submarines are already being built in India by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) Mumbai, under collaboration with M/s Naval Group, France.
Indian Navy’s under water combat capabilities have been under question since long due to obsolete submarine force and delay in the manufacturing of the submarines. Till now three submarines have been commissioned under Project 75.
The SPs in collaboration with OEMs have been mandated to set up dedicated manufacturing lines for these submarines in India. The OEMs would be shortlisted primarily based on their submarine design meeting the Indian Navy’s Qualitative Requirements and qualifying the Transfer of Technology and Indigenous Content (IC) criteria.
“The overall aim would be to progressively build indigenous capabilities in the private sector to design, develop and manufacture complex weapon systems for the future needs of the Armed Forces,” the MoD said.