Indian’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), on Jan. 31, has approved the construction of six Project 75(I) diesel-electric attack submarines for the Indian Navy at a cost of over Rs. 40,000 crores (USD5.62 billion).
This is the second project under the MoD’s ambitious Strategic Partnership (SP) model that aims at providing a significant fillip to the Government’s ‘Make in India’ programme. SP model envisages indigenous manufacturing of major defence platforms by an Indian Strategic Partner, who will collaborate with foreign OEM to set up production facilities in the country. The model has a long term vision of promoting India as a manufacturing hub for defence equipment through transfer of niche technologies and higher Indigenous Content thereby enhancing self-sufficiency for meeting the future requirements of the Armed Forces.
The DAC approval would be second such project following indigenous production of 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) that was approved in August 2018. The DAC also approved the acquisition of approximately 5000 Milan Anti Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) for the Army.
Construction of six submarines under Project 75(I) will provide a major boost to the existing submarine design and manufacturing eco-system in India through transfer of design and equipment technology as well as necessary skill sets.
Project 75I-class submarine is a follow-on of the Project 75 Kalvari-class submarines of the Indian Navy to acquire 6 diesel-electric submarines.
The new submarines will feature Air-independent propulsion (AIP) fuel cells which enable them to stay submerged for longer duration (long endurance) and substantially increase their operational range. The submarines will also feature advanced stealth capabilities such as a greater ability to suppress noise and acoustic signatures.
The Project 75I-class submarines will have a vertical launch system(VLS) to enable them to carry multiple BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, making the submarines fully capable of anti-surface and anti-ship warfare (ASuW) missions. Project 75I submarines will also be armed with torpedoes.
The possible contenders for the project are Rubin Amur 1650 (Russia), Naval Group Advanced Scorpene class (France), TKMS Type 214 class (Germany), Navantia S-80 (Spain), Saab Kockum A26 (Sweden) and Soryu class (Japan).
Foreign OEM winning the competition will collaborate with an Indian partner to build the submarines in India. The Navy has earlier shortlisted 5 shipyards which include Hindustan Shipyard, Mazagon Dock, Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Larsen & Toubro and Pipavav Shipyard.