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Issues between Indian Navy and defence ministry delays Scorpene submarine building program.


| 2011
a
World Naval Forces News - India / France
 
 
 
Issues between Indian Navy and defence ministry delays Scorpene submarine building program
 
The Indian Navy is in dire need of more submarines. But the plan to build six next-generation underwater boats with foreign collaboration, which has been in the works for long, is stuck in the labyrinth of the bureaucratic muddle. Project 75 India, under which the new submarines are to be built, has failed to take off as a number of critical issues regarding construction modalities are yet to be sorted out between the defence ministry and the navy.

The failure of the two sides to find common ground has further set back the 30-year submarine building programme, which was approved by India in 1999 to overhaul its ailing fleet.

While under Project 75 - another part of the programme - a periodic delivery of the French Scorpene submarines (which are being constructed by Mumbai's Mazagon Dock Limited) should have already begun, the first of the lot will not be ready for induction before 2015. The final one is expected to be finished by 2020.

What this means is that for now, the navy will have to make do with its ageing fleet comprising 10 Russian Kilo class and four German HDW submarines. The prospect raises serious security concerns as India's two main adversaries, Pakistan and China, boast of a fairly wellequipped fleet.
     
The Indian Navy is in dire need of more submarines. But the plan to build six next-generation underwater boats with foreign collaboration, which has been in the works for long, is stuck in the labyrinth of the bureaucratic muddle. Project 75 India, under which the new submarines are to be built, has failed to take off as a number of critical issues regarding construction modalities are yet to be sorted out between the defence ministry and the navy.
DCNS' Scorpene class submarine (SSK)
(picture: Internet)

     
While Pakistan has the superior French Augusta 90B conventional submarines, China is armed with nuclear submarines capable of firing ballistic missiles.

Consequently, the navy is treading a cautious path as it doesn't want to worsen the situation and hopes that the construction modalities for Project 75 India would soon be sorted out and bids invited from the foreign contractors for the same.

The project is crucial for the navy bosses because it is their last chance to source foreign expertise, as the next batch of submarines will be built completely indigenously.

The navy is counting on foreign help to master technologies such as missile launch capability and air independent propulsion (AIP), among others.

In the arrangement finalised by the defence ministry for Project 75 India, three submarines were to be built at government owned Mazagon Dock Limited and one at the Hindustan Shipyard Limited.

The construction of the other two underwater boats will either be assigned to a private shipyard in the country or bought from abroad.

The differences in the approach to execute the project have led to the appointment of various committees to resolve the stalemate.

At the current pace, the request for proposal could be sent to the foreign contractors only by next year, which means that contracts will not be in place for another twothree years. As a result, the delivery will be delayed much beyond the 30-year deadline.

All major submarine makers have already responded to the request for information sent in August 2010.
 
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