India – Defence ministry sits on Navy request for six submarines

The navy is still awaiting defence ministry’s  approval for inviting bids for the new line of six submarines despite  indications that all the stumbling blocks in the way of the crucial project have  been cleared.

Navy chief admiral DK Joshi had even  announced in December last year that the request for proposal (RFP) for the  submarines were on the way “very soon”.

Sources said the ground work has been  completed by the navy, and it has sent the proposal to the defence ministry for  final approval.

The first submarine is expected to be ready in mid-2015 and the last in 2018The first submarine is expected to be ready in mid-2015  and the last in 2018

The project, named 75-India, is crucial to  augment navy’s under water capabilities which has taken a hit because of delays  in finding replacement for the existing fleet of ageing German and Russian  submarines.

It was expected that the RFP would now be  issued only in the next financial year beginning next month.

The navy had shown sense of urgency in  getting necessary approvals as the massive projects needs to get underway  without further delays.

The navy is looking to have Air Independent  Propulsion (AIP) system in the new line of submarines, which will provide the  capability to sustain under water longer decreasing the possibilities of  detection.

The AIP systems have become crucial feature  of conventional diesel electric submarines but at the moment, Indian fleet lacks  the capability.

Even the under construction French Scorpene  submarines would not have this feature.

The modalities for the construction of the  new line were debated upon.

It was felt that two submarines should be  purchased directly from a foreign vendor while the two would be constructed at  Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) in Vishakhapatnam and the remaining at Mazgaon  Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai.

It was argued that the HSL had no experience  of building submarines while MDL has the capability because of the ongoing  construction of French Scorpene submarines in the shipyard.

The distribution of work among the shipyards  for the new line has been the biggest point of contention so far.

Navy chief’s announcement about the RFP being  floated very soon had indicated that issue had been sorted out.

Source – Mail online India

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