Indian Defense Ministry Clears Navy’s ₹45000 Crore Deal to Procure Six Submarines
On June 4, the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) of India, in a high-level meeting, gave its final approval to the issuing of a Request For Proposal (RFP) for the Indian Navy’s mega project to procure six submarines. The procurement would be conducted under Project-75I through a strategic partnership program and would cost around ₹45000 Crore Deal to Procure Six Submarines.
Two Indian companies and five foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) were previously shortlisted for the project. The RFP has been given to Indian company Mazagon Docks (MDL) and private company Larsen and Toubro. The project is organized on the Strategic Partnership model; the Strategic Partners (SPs) MDL and L&T will hook up with one of five selected foreign shipyards to advance their technical and financial bids. The submarines will be developed in India and will be through ToT by the OEMs.
The project will deliver the six state-of-the-art, conventional diesel-electric submarines. The induction of new submarines would significantly boost the Indian Navy’s strength. The strength of these submarines would be reinforced with heavy-duty firepower so that the boats will have 12 Land Attack Cruise Missiles (LACM) in conjunction with Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles (ASCM). The additional requirements as proposed by maritime force necessitate that submarines should also carry and launch 18 heavyweight torpedoes in the sea.
Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh chaired the DAC meeting. The project received clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in 1999, and Acceptance of Necessity was granted in 2007. The Strategic Partnership model is envisioned to promote India as a manufacturing hub for defense equipment. It is in line with broader Indian goals to stimulate local industry, instill indigenous building capacity in the industry and establish an industrial and Research and Development R&D ecosystem that can cater to future requirements of Armed Forces and prove a boon for Indian exports.
More broadly, it must be viewed as underpinning the larger vision enunciated in the ‘Make in India Initiative.’ India hosts only 12 submarines in addition to two nuclear submarines named INS Arihunt and INS Chakra in its naval fleet. Another Scorpene-class submarine is under construction at the Mazagon Dockyards Limited in Mumbai. Significantly, the increased Chinese naval prowess and its power-projection in the Indian Ocean Region have provided the necessary impetus for the Indian Navy’s ambitious submarine project. The decision is meant to bridge the gap with Chinese naval dominance in the region. China has fifteen percent of the world’s submarines, numbering around 75. India’s share is only three percent, with 12 submarines.
The new fleet would serve to upgrade its submarine operations and naval skills. Approval has allowed India to embark on a thirty-year submarine construction program envisaged by the government to build national competence. As per reports, it would take some seven years for the first submarine to enter into service. Nonetheless, the project would bolster Indian R&D and vitalize the industrial ecosystem to meet its current and future demands and overhaul its exports.