India inches towards naval dominance

ET Bureau|
​In Operation
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​In Operation

India has finally taken the plunge to go ahead with its Rs 45,000 crore procurement plan for submarines. The Indian Navy wants the six submarines to be 'Made in India', as it will help a domestic shipyard to develop its skills for any future production. India will be needing all its naval assets in order to keep check on growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

9 Sindhughosh (Kilo) class of Russian origin

4 Shishumar (HDW 209) class of German origin

2 Kalvari (Scorpene) class of French origin

1 Arihant class nuclear-armed: Indigenous

1 Chakra class nuclear-powered from Russia

​Conventional vs Nuclear
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​Conventional vs Nuclear

India has traditionally relied on conventional ones for defence and attack. These diesel-electric submarines are quiet and ideal for coastal warfare but have a fatal flaw — they need to surface regularly to collect oxygen for the crew and to burn fuel.

The nuclearpowered one like ‘Chakra’ can remain underwater for weeks as they generate their own oxygen.

In pic: INS Chakra

​Middle path
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​Middle path

India is looking for submarines that can stay underwater for weeks and can be stealthy too. This is possible with the new air-independent propulsion (AIP) technology that can generate oxygen from on-board fuel.

India needs 6 such submarines, categorised as Project 75I (I is for India).

AIP ADVANTAGE: Technology on offer from Russia, France and Germany.

The nextgen submarines will be able to travel undetected virtually across the Arabian Sea and deep into the Indian Ocean. This will give them the ability to surprise enemy ships far from shore, enforce trade blockade at vital ports and strike both land and sea targets.

In pic: INS Khanderi

​Make in India
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​Make in India

The Navy, which has been at the forefront of promoting indigenous equipment, has mandated that the six submarines, to be acquired at an estimated cost of Rs 45,000 crore, be made in India by a domestic shipyard. This would ensure that all future submarines after P 75I are designed, built in India.

In pic: INS Kalavari

​Strategic Partnership Model
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​Strategic Partnership Model

The mega project is being processed under the Strategic Partnership model, in which Indian companies are to be selected through a competitive process for large manufacturing contracts. Idea is to help Indian companies emerge as global players.

​Competition
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​Competition

The competition to select an Indian company and its foreign collaborator kicked off in June 2019 Indian companies who bid — L&T, MDL, Reliance Naval and HSL-Adani Foreign collaborators: Naval Group (France), TKMS (Germany), Rosoboronexport (Russia), Navantia (Spain) and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (South Korea).

​Shortlisting Process
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​Shortlisting Process

After evaluating Indian yards and scrutinising foreign companies’ technical bids, Navy’s empowered committee shortlisted L&T and MDL from the Indian side and all five foreign collaborators Reliance Naval: Rejected on financial parameters HSL-Adani: Rejected as joint venture was not in place.

In pic: INS Karanj

​Tussle
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​Tussle

After protest, Department of Defence Production asked Navy to consider HSLAdani’s bid to encourage publicprivate partnership High-powered Defence Acquisition Council goes with the decision of the empowered committee to select L&T and MDL only.

In pic: INS Vagli Submarine

​Possibilities
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​Possibilities

L&T likely to tie up with Russia’s Rubin Design Bureau MDL likely to choose French Naval Group, also in talks with Germans TKMS.

If things go as per plan, the first Indian-built AIP submarine could be ready for commissioning by 2027.

In pic: A nuclear submarine passing by Visakhapatnam Coast.

​Next Step
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​Next Step

Navy will now issue request for proposals to the two Indian entities.

Indian entities will choose foreign collaborators and formulate a techno-commercial proposal for the Navy.

Navy to carry out all required tests and evaluations to determine if the two proposals are technically valid.

Proposals to go to the next stage of commercial evaluation.

Lowest bidder will then be awarded contract.

In pic: An Indian navy's submarine and a ship are seen during a the Fleet Review (PFR-11) in Mumbai.

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