The Indian Navy (IN)’s submarine modernisation plans finally look set to gather some steam with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) approving the long-delayed ‘Project 75-I’ (‘I’ for India) to build six submarines in the country. The Defence Acquisition Committee, India’s highest decision-making body on procurement, made this decision on June 4 while also giving the nod to another project worth Rs 6,000 crore for air defence guns and ammunition.
The ministry is expected to soon issue requests for proposal (RFP) for the Rs 43,000 crore submarine deal from foreign shipyards. For the first time, the RFP will seek strategic partnership (SP) bids for making the conventional diesel-electric submarines —all larger than the Scorpene vessels currently under construction at Mazagon Dockyards Ltd (MDL) in Mumbai.
The SP model allows Indian industry to become involved in making four categories of weapon systems: submarines, fighter aircraft, helicopters and armoured vehicles. It stipulates that an Indian company must build the six subs in collaboration with a foreign original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
Two Indian strategic partners with submarine-building experience have reportedly been picked to collaborate with the OEMs: MDL on India’s west coast and L&T on the east coast. Five OEMs are reportedly bidding for the project: the French Naval Group,