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Project 75 / Scorpene - Schedule

The Indian experiment of building subs indigenously at Mazagon Dock, which delivered INS Shalki and INS Shankul in the early 1990s, went awry when the program was shelved following allegations of corruption. This cost the nation dear by way of loss of capability and skill sets acquired. More or less the same fate awaited the program kick-started in mid-2000 as part of the Navys high-value 30-year submarine building program to build six French-origin Scorpene class submarines at Mazagon Dock.

DCNS, the French firm that developed the Scorpene, assured the Indian Navy in early 2008 that issues surrounding technology transfer had been taken care of and the first of the six Scorpene submarines would roll out by 2012. The remaining five were scheduled to follow at a rate of one per year. But by May 2008 the Rs 18,798-crore Scorpene submarine project had run into rough weather due to delay in technology transfer. The navy may not be able to induct the first submarine by the 2012 deadline, with the French yet to part with crucial details of technological know-how, including design and drawing documentation. A senior navy official confirmed to HT that the project had been delayed by a year due to "teething problems".

Complexity of the construction can be judged from the fact that the first submarine of the series will be delivered in year 2012 and the rest in the following five years one annually. By late 2007 there had been slippages in the gigantic Rs 18,798 crore project to construct six Scorpene submarines at MDL, slated for delivery between 2012 and 2017.

On 26 March 2009 French naval defence system contractor DCNS said there had been initial "teething trouble" in the transfer of technology for the Indian Navy's Scorpene submarine project but they had been resolved. Three of the six Scorpene submarines are being built at the Mazagaon Dock Limited (MDL) as part of the Indian Navy's P75 project. By one estimate the project is worth Rs 13,000 crore and all the submarines would be delivered by 2017 end, Patrick Boissier, Chairman and CEO of DCNS Group said.

Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) is manufacturing SSK Scorpene submarines (P75) under transfer of technology (ToT) from DCNS. Simultaneously, DCNS India, DCNS Groups subsidiary based in Mumbai, is working at the selection and qualification of Indian companies as partners for local production of the Scorpenes equipments. As of 2012 DCNS said that the first Scorpene submarine was to be launched at the end of 2013 and commissioned in 2015. The last Scorpene was expected to be commissioned in 2018. The Department of Defence Production maintained that the first submarine is likely to be commissioned in 2015 and the sixth submarine by 2018. But DCNS also said they were to be delivered at a rate of one per year, and if the first were launched in 2013 and commissioned in 2015, the sixth would be launched in 2019 and commissioned in 2021.

By mid-2012 DCNS was looking for tie-ups with Indian companies for production of equipment for Scorpene submarines, six of which were to be delivered to the Indian Navy between the end of 2013 and 2018. But by 2013 the first submarine, which was to join the fleet in 2012, was to be inducted only in 2017.

What has been chosen is the transfer of know-how of industrial capacity and technology to India to put it in a position to do it progressively. That is far more complex. The end result, however, will be two-fold: India with six first-class submarines, among the most modern in the world, and India being capable of continuing to build them by itself in the future.

By late 2014 the construction of the six Scorpene submarines at the Mazagon Dock Ltd. (MDL), had picked up speed and the navy hoped to get the first one in 2016 and the last by 2020. The Indian Navy chief, Admiral Robyn Dhowan stated "I expect the first Scorpene submarine to be delivered by Sep 2016, and the entire fleet by 2020."

India launched its first Scorpne-class submarine in April 2015, bringing the country one step closer to creating a stealthy fleet. Named Kalvari, the stealth submarine successfully undocked at the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai on 06 April 2015. The vessel will soon undergo sea trials to test its weapons and firing capabilities, and is slated to enter the naval service by 2016. Speaking to Defense News, MDL officials said, "Between now and September 2016, the submarine will undergo a year and a half of rigorous trials and tests, both in harbor and at sea, while on surface and while dived."

The vessel is the first of the Indian Navys ambitious Project 75 submarine program, which aims to include five more Scorpnes in the Navy fleet by 2020. The submarine program is a collaborative project between the Indian Navy and the French firm DCNS, which was awarded the $4.6 billion contract in 2005.

Kalvari is the dreaded Tiger Shark, a deadly deep sea predator. As is the tradition, ships and submarines of the Navy, are brought alive after decommissioning. The first Kalvari, which was also the first Indian submarine, was commissioned into the Indian Navy on December 8, 1967. She was decommissioned on May 31, 1996 after almost 30 years of yeoman service to the nation. In true nautical traditions, she will now be re-incarnated, by Mazagon Dock, once again a powerful predator of the deep.

Kalvari, the first of Project-75 Scorpene submarines, sailed out of Mumbai harbor on 03 May 2016 for sea trials and is scheduled to be commissioned into the Navy in September. However, the procurement of heavy weight torpedoes from Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquel of Italy, a subsidiary of defence major Finmeccanica has been stuck due to the VVIP chopper scam and ongoing ban on the company and its subsidiaries. The Navy last inducted a conventional diesel-electric submarine, INS Sindhushastra, procured from Russia in July 2000.

The Honourable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi commissioned INS Kalvari (S-21), the first of the six Scorpene class submarines built under Project 75 (Kalvari Class) into the Indian Navy at an impressive ceremony held at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai on 14 December 2017. The event marked the formal induction into the Navy of the first of the six submarines being constructed at Mazagon Docks Ltd., in collaboration with the French builder M/s Naval Group.



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