Defence Ministry issues Request for Proposal to shortlisted Indian companies for building six conventional submarines with foreign collaboration

Published : July 21, 2021 13:00 IST

At Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) during the launch of 'Khanderi', india’s second Scorpene class submarine, in 2017. Photo: Shashank Parade/PTI

The Narendra Modi government on July 20 issued the tender for the long-pending project to build in India, with foreign collaboration, six new generation conventional stealth submarines. The project was first granted ‘acceptance of necessity’ in November 2007 and had been given the nomenclature Project-75 (India), or P-75(I).

The project envisages building six AIP (Air Independent Propulsion Plant)-fitted conventional submarines, complete with associated shore support and engineering support packages, training and spares packages, along with contemporary equipment, weapons and sensors, advanced torpedoes, modern missiles and state of the art countermeasure systems. The submarines will be armed with 18 land-attack cruise missiles and heavyweight torpedoes. The decks for the P-75(I), which is expected to cost upwards of Rs.40,000 crore ($6 billion), was cleared by the Rajnath Singh-led Defence Acquisitions Council on June 4.

The Defence Ministry issued the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the first acquisition to defence shipyard Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) and private ship-builder Larsen & Tubro (L&T), the two shortlisted Indian Strategic Partners (SPs) under the ‘Strategic Partnership Model’ policy that was promulgated in May 2017 in order to boost indigenous defence production. The two Indian strategic partners SPs will in turn tie-up with one of five shortlisted foreign companies and then submit techno-commercial bids for the mega diesel-electric submarine-building programme.

The five global shortlisted foreign shipbuilders are Naval Group-DCNS (France), Rosoboronexport (Russia), Daewoo (South Korea), ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (Germany), and Navantia (Spain). Being world leaders in the field of conventional submarine design, construction and related technologies, any of these five firms could be collaborating with the Indian strategic partner, becoming the technology partner in the ‘Strategic Partnership Model’. The selected foreign firm will provide the Indian strategic partner the technology to construct the submarines, with the partnership achieving along the way high levels of indigenisation and Transfer of Technology (ToT) for various technologies.

Said a spokesperson for the Navy: “These partnerships will enable the setting up of dedicated manufacturing lines for the submarines in India by providing transfer of technology for submarine design and other technologies.” The first submarine is expected to roll out seven years after the winning techno-commercial bid is declared and a contract signed, andwith the remaining five submarines are to be being launched at the rate of one a year. The P-75(I) will go some way in boosting the Navy’s fast depleting submarine arm. The spokesperson said that P-75(I) “would provide a major boost to the indigenous design and construction capability of submarines in India, in addition to bringing in the latest submarine design and technologies”.