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Project 75(I)

Under Project 75I India will purchase 6 next generation diesel submarines with Air Independent Propulsion System (AIP) technology for the Indian Navy by 2022. Conventional diesel-electric submarines have to surface every few days to get oxygen to recharge their batteries. With AIP systems, they can stay submerged for much longer periods. Project 75-I will probably have both vertical launched BrahMos for the sea & land targets and tube-launched torpedoes for anti-submarine warfare. The new Project 75-I submarines should be huge in value, estimated at around $10 billion-plus, depending upon the offsets and transfer of technology (ToT). The defense offsets policy mandates a minimum investment of 30 per cent to be put back in a related defence industrial venture in India.

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).

Acceptance of Necessity for acquisition of six submarines under Project-75(I) was accorded by the Defence Acquisition Council in August 2010. The case is being progressed in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure. The Navy issued a Request for Information 07 September 2010 for procurement of 06 conventional submarines under project 75(I) to identify contemporary conventional submarine for construction of two submarines at collaborators shipyard and four submarines at two indian shipyards.

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. The Indian navy requested information from firms who had independently designed and constructed a complete modern conventional submarine which is currently in service / undergoing sea trials. The submarine should be capable of operating in open ocean and littoral / shallow waters in dense asw and ew environment and able to undertake following missions:-

  • anti surface and anti submarine warfare.
  • supporting operations ashore.
  • ISR missions.
  • special force and mining ops.

Prospective collaborators were requested to forward data regarding the following capabilities of the proposed design:-

  • maximum diving depth without limitation on number of dives.
  • maximum operating range (dived-snort-surface) and mission endurance.
  • air independent propulsion system being offered.
  • surface displacement and reserve buoyancy.
  • indiscretion rate.
  • sea water specific gravity operating range.
  • torpedo tubes with capability to launch long range heavy weight wire guided torpedoes, missiles and method for weapon discharge.
  • externally launched torpedo decoy system.
  • integrated combat system (details of prospective suppliers to be provided).
  • contemporary low noise propulsion and power generation system.
  • auxiliary motors with take home capability.
  • contemporary IPMS, SMCS, APMS.
  • AC system customised for operation in tropical waters characterised by high temperature and high humidity conditions.

The following data in respect of the proposed submarine be provided along with response to RFI:-

  • radiated noise levels in frequency band 30 hz to 10000hz (db // ref pa) at speed of 5 knots and 10 kn
  • noise and vibration data for major propulsion and auxiliary machinery
  • maneuverability & stability characteristics

The response to this rfi should also elaborate the following:-

  • scope and depth for transfer of technology (ToT) for submarine design & construction and production of key systems/subsystems at Indian shipyard / by Indian industry.
  • plan for discharge of offset commitments as enumerated in the "defence procurement procedure 2008"
  • feasibility and proposed approach for use of items / equipments sourced from Indian industry on the submarine.
  • plan for training shipyard personnel for project implementation and indian navy personnel in aspects of submarine design.

It was requested that the response to this RFI be forwarded by 30 September 2010. Acceptance of Necessity for acquisition of Six Submarines under Project-75(I) was accorded by the Defence Acquisitions Council in August 2011. The proposal was being progressed. Cost details would be available on finalization of contracts. At a press conference in December 2012, the Chief of the Naval Staff stated that the RFPs for the follow-on Project 75-I were to be issued soon, yet a year passed with no movement on that program. By August 2013 proposal for construction of the six submarines (Project-75(I)) was in the advanced stage of sanction.

  1. When the Request for Information went out for six more next generation submarines as part of Navy's Project 75-I (India), the French apparently made an offer of bigger Scorpenes, which was a bit awkward, given that the six Scorpenes contracted by India under ToT (transfer of technology) via Project 75 was overdue. DCNS offered the Super Scorpene design, with MESMA AIP. The French claim the submarine design can be fitted with a nuclear propulsion package plug on the lines of the French nuclear submarine of the Rubis class.
  2. Navantia, which has broken off from DCNS, offered the Spanish S-80 design, with a competitive ethanol based AIP. But officials said the Spanish company had withdrawn its technical specifications due to weight issues with their submarine.
  3. The Rubin Design Bureau was looking to manufacture an appropriate version of the Amur-1650 that would satisfy the requirements of the Indian Navy. Russia was in a position to ensure fast delivery of its Amur-class, if bought off-the-shelf. If India wanted to integrate something like the BrahMos cruise missile or the underdevelopment air independent propulsion, it was also possible. It would then take time to get operational.
  4. Fincantieri/Rubin has offered the S-1000 design.
  5. ThyssenKrupp Marine has offered the HDW Type 214.
  6. South Korea, which had locally manufactured the 212 HDW submarines under license, offered its interest in the project.
  7. Indias Larsen & Toubro (L&T), which has engaged in building Indias ATV nuclear submarine INS Arihant with Russian help, was confident that it can also deliver new submarines in cooperation with foreign shipyards.

On 01 January 2014 Ministry of defence (MOD) selected Defence Public sector unit Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) to build three next generation Diesel submarines for Indian Navy under Project 75I. Under this deal two submarines will be built by selected foreign submarine supplier and three will be build by Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL). Interestingly dying defence PSU Hindustan shipyard has again been selected to build last submarine under Project 75I. Hindustan shipyard has failed to complete upgrades to a kilo class submarine INS Sindhukirti which first went to dry docks there in 2006 and remained there.

By December 2014 Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government accelerated the bidding process for six new diesel-electric submarines, though schedule details were lacking. The push came just months after a stand-off along the disputed border dividing India and China in the Himalayas, and as Chinese submarines have docked in Sri Lanka, the island nation off India's southern coast. Initially, the plan was to import two submarines from the selected vendor. Now, it has been decided to make all the six boats in India as part of the government's efforts towards creating defense industrial infrastructure within the country.

New Delhi was considering a project to build six Japanese Soryu-class diesel-electric submarines in an Indian shipyard, according to Indian media reports. "In keeping with their expanding strategic partnership, the Modi government has asked the Shinzo Abe administration whether it would be interested in the over Rs 50,000 crore [$8.1 billion] project to build six stealth submarines in India," the Times of India reported 30 January 2015.

At 4,200 tons submerged, the Soryu-class is considerably larger than either the [German] Type 214, [French] Scorpene, or improved [Russian] Kilo, and can carry a much heavier weapons load. This size also makes them quieter and longer-ranged than the other boats on the market. At current price expectations of around $500 million, the Soryus are not wildly more expensive than the other boats.

Germany stood ready to offer six diesel-electric submarines with high underwater endurance at the total cost of $9 billion under a government program to replenish the Indian Navys aging fleet, The Economic Times reported 06 May 2016. "The offer has certain assurances that the product will meet Indian requirements," an official involved in the process told The Economic Times.

Germanys ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) private naval vessel holding company told the newspaper it was "not in a position to comment on talks between the government of the two nations." The company spokesperson said, however, it was interested in offering its 214 class boats with increased underwater endurance and low detection risk. "We define it as a no-holds barred transfer of technology in line with Modi governments Make in India push," the TKMS spokesperson said in response to a detailed questionnaire.

In 1999, the Indian Navy drew a Submarine Acquisition Plan, a 30 year roadmap that had envisaged 12 submarines by 2012 and the number was expected to double by 2029. Thanks to the delays in acquisition, the plan is nowhere near completion. Indian Navy has 13 diesel-electric submarines in service9 Kilo-class and four Shishumar (Type 209/1500)-class, but only half of them are operational at any time. India has planned 18 conventional submarines apart from current 13 which are 17 to 31 years old.

The sea trials of the first Scorpene in May 2016, which marked a movement on the development cycle of the submarine, needed to be followed by an accelerated implementation of the plan already in place. The most immediate being project 75 i, a follow up of the Scorpene class which was derailed due to the delay in announcing Make in India guidelines in the Defence Procurement Procedure. To enhance its Blue Water capability, the Indian Navy opted to strengthen its submarine arm for which Request For Proposal (RFP) to acquire six more conventional submarines under Project 75(I) was cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in 2016. The project will cost around Rs. 80,000 crore.

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