Military


Project-75A / Project-75I / Project 76

Over time submarine project nomenclature has evolved, and what was at one time termed Project 76 turened into Project-75A and finally Project-75I. The Project 76 nomenclature may eventually be applied to a submarine of entirely indigenous design. Indian Navy’s submarine arm had an impressive strength of 21 submarines in the 1980s. A 30-year submarine building plan proposed by the defence establishment was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in July 1999. It envisaged the manufacture of 24 boats, all of them in India, the first twelve with transfer of technology [ToT] from foreign collaborators and the next twelve indigenously. The local construction of 24 submarines over 30 years would be in two lines.

According to the envisaged plan, 12 new submarines were to be inducted to the navy by 2012, and was to be supplemented with 12 more submarines by 2030. But the navy soon went out of favor with the government’s priority, and coupled with red tape, by 2014 the Navy had not received a single new submarine since it commissioned INS Sindhurashtra in 2000. The Indian effort to learn submarine design foundered on domestic politics, when V.P. Singh scrapped the HDW Class 209 submarine deal because the arrangement involved payment to some agents. Now with the Scorpene class, the learning process has begun again. As of 2007 the Indian Navy held just two-thirds of the submarine force level envisaged in its 1985 plan.

By 2007 India began a hunt for six more submarines to add to the six being built at Mazagon Docks under the mammoth Rs 18,798-crore Scorpene project. "We are now actively looking at the second line of submarines after the Scorpenes. I think the global tender for the six new submarines should be floated in the next financial year (2008-2009)," navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta told TOI. The contenders for the six new submarines could include the German HDW and Russian Amur submarines, with the French Scorpenes also being in the reckoning for a repeat order.

Request for information were issued in 2007 to the French DCNS, Spanish Navantia, Russian Rubin and German HDW. "It is a new submarine. It is not the Scorpene and it is a bigger submarine with specific features," Alain Fougeron, Executive VP, DCNS says about its new submarines. The key differentiator from its existing fleet of 16 submarines will be a new class of missiles, which will establish India as the leading naval power in the region. "The missile component of the Submarine weapon is very important and it should be very powerful," Andrey V Efimov, Manager, Rubin Design Bureau, says.

The Russians are hesitant on allowing license production for the Amur, and have stated that India should purchase a few of those vessels from their shipyard. As of 2005 there was one Amur being built for export purpose. There is speculation that 6 ot 8 Amur (with 10 VLS Brahmos) might be built in India.

On 20 August 2008 it was reported that the Indian Navy's next order for seven submarines, a follow-on order to the six French-designed Scorpenes already under various stages of construction at French and Indian shipyards, will all be armed with the sub-surface version of the Indo-Russian supersonic BrahMos cruise missile. This was stated by Alexander Dergachev, chairman of board of directors of the BrahMos Aerospace joint-venture. Expressing the hope that the submarine order would be placed soon enough Dergachev said, "The missiles will be made for submarines of the Indian Navy. The nearest order is seven submarines. We do not know yet when exactly it is going to happen. I hope soon."

Initially 6 Scorpene will be built as part of Project-75 at the Mazagoan Dock, and later another 6 as part of Project-76. As part of 30 year submarine building program India plans on 24 subs of the SSK type. With 6 Scorpene plus 6 Project-76, the remaining 12-10 subs will be of an indigenous design, possibly displacing upwards of 3,000 tons, based on the best of what Scorpene and Amur has to offer. The additional six submarines will start joining the Indian Navy fleet after all the first set of six Scorpenes have joined the naval fleet.

Project 75I

In October 2008 the Indian Navy issued RFIs (request for information) to a number of international shipbuilding and design yards/firms for the next generation of submarines to be constructed at its shipyards. The RFIs were issued to Russian (Rosoboronexport), French (Armaris) and German (HDW) firms, among others. At that time another round of discussions appeared likely before the RFP (request for proposal), or a global tender, was issued in late-2008 or early-2009. To be executed under Project-75A all the six vessels of this second line of diesel-electric submarines, were to be equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP).

In October 2010 the Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC), chaired by defence minister A K Antony, decided on a plan worth over Rs 50,000 crore for six new-generation submarines for the Indian Navy. At least three of the six submarines will be constructed at Mazagon Docks (MDL) in Mumbai and one at Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL) in Visakhapatnam, with the help of a foreign collaborator. The other two submarines will either be imported from the foreign vendor directly or constructed at a private yard in India. Each of the six diesel-electric submarines will cost almost Rs 8,500 crore. Under the program — reportedly called Project-75 India (P-75I) — all the six new submarines will be equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems, land-attack capability and other technologies to boost their operational capabilities. An RFP (request for proposal) will first have to be issued to submarine manufacturers like Rosoboronexport (Russian), DCNS/Armaris (French), HDW (German) and Navantia (Spain). The navy would hope to gets its first submarine under P-75I in six to seven years, that is, by 2016-2017. By 2015 it will be left with an ageing fleet of diesel-electric submarines — 10 Russian Kilo-class, four German HDW Typ-209, and one Foxtrot.

Deliveries of the first Project 75 I class submarines are likely only after 2020.



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