Indian Navy set to issue Rs 50,000 crore tender for 6 stealth submarines

Express News Service
NEW DELHI: In a step seen as game-changing for indigenous defence manufacturing, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Monday issued a tender expected to be worth around Rs 50,000 crores for building six conventional submarines under Project-75 India.

Ministry of Defence in its statement said, “The request for proposal (RFP) was issued to shortlisted Strategic Partners (SPs) or Indian Applicant Companies for the project viz, M/s Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) and M/s Larsen & Tubro (L&T).” The project cost is over Rs 40,000 crore.

With the RFP issued begins the process of procurement and this is expected to take 12 weeks for the Strategic Partners to select the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and reply back to the MoD.

The Project-75(I) envisages indigenous construction of six modern conventional submarines (including associated shore support, Engineering Support Package, training and spares package) with contemporary equipment, weapons & sensors including Fuel-Cell based AIP (Air Independent Propulsion Plant), advanced torpedoes, modern missiles and state of the art countermeasure systems. 

This 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 as part of the project. 

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Indian Navy’s submarine arm has been plagued with obsolescence and is currently operating 12 vintage submarines. Although it has indicted 3 conventional screened class submarines the programme is running late. India has one indigenously manufactured INS Arihant, a nuclear-powered attack submarine.

As per responses to the Expression of Interest (EoI) received by the government in January 2020 shortlisting of two potential Strategic Partners (SPs), as mentioned above, and five Foreign OEMs was undertaken. 

The shortlisted SPs to whom the RFP has been issued would be collaborating with any of the shortlisted five Foreign OEMs viz, Naval Group (France),  TKMS (Germany), Rosoboronexport (Russia), Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (South Korea) and Navantia-Spain. 

These five foreign firms will be the technology partner and will enable SP for the construction of submarines, achieving high levels of indigenization, and ToT for various technologies. 

As per the MoD, “These OEMs would enable setting up of dedicated manufacturing lines for these submarines in India by providing ToT for submarine design and other technologies and make India the global hub for submarine design and production.”

As per the MoD, in order to achieve the above the RFP has key features like mandatory level of indigenous manufacture of platforms, ToT for design/ manufacture/ maintenance of submarines and a few critical equipment and systems, setting up of an eco-system in India for such indigenisation and incentivisation for other key technologies, etc. 

As per the plans, the Indian Navy should be operating 18 conventional submarines, 6 nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs)  and 4 nuclear powered and armed with Ballistic Missile submarines (SSBNs).