The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has cleared a Rs 43,000-crore proposal to manufacture six advanced submarines in the country under the government’s ‘strategic partnership’ (SP) model.
A statement issued by the MoD on Friday evening said that this was the first case approved by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh under the SP model that envisages indigenous manufacturing of major defence platforms by an Indian strategic partner, who will collaborate with a foreign original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to set up production facilities in the country.
The new submarines will be equipped with air independent propulsion (AIP) systems that will enable them to stay underwater for longer periods and thus enhance their combat capabilities.
The MoD has said that this project, dubbed the Project-75 India [or P-75 (I)], “would be one of the largest ‘Make in India’ projects and will serve to facilitate faster and more significant absorption of technology and create a tiered industrial ecosystem for submarine construction in India”.
This submarine project is crucial to counter China’s rapid expansion of its blue water capabilities and the navy will soon issue requests for proposals (RFPs).
In January last year, the MoD had cleared two Indian and five foreign shipbuilders to take part in P-75(I).
The Indian strategic partners cleared to collaborate with the foreign OEMs are Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited and Larsen & Toubro. The foreign yards they can team up with for the project are the French Naval Group, German conglomerate Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, Russia’s Rubin Design Bureau, Spain’s Navantia and South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Company.
If the projected time frames are adhered to, the first submarine will be ready only after 10 years. The first submarine will have 45 per cent indigenous equipment while the sixth will have to achieve 60 per cent indigenisation.
The DAC on Friday also cleared a Rs 6,000-crore project for acquiring air defence guns and ammunition.
Acknowledging the urgent need to induct modern air defence guns to replace the ageing ones, the MoD statement said that “enthusiastic response from about a dozen Indian companies was received... to manufacture this complex gun system and associated equipment by ensuring technology assimilation in India”.
The DAC has also extended the timeline for delegation of powers to the armed forces for urgent capital acquisitions up to August this year. This means that the armed forces can acquire arms and ammunition that are required very urgently on their own without going through the usual time-consuming process followed by the MoD.
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