6 June 2017
With the Strategic Partnership model for procurement of defense platforms now official, the Navy is not interested in ordering additional Scorpene submarines, a senior naval source told The Hindu. Six Scorpenes are now under construction, and the Navy is keen to accelerate the tender for a new line of advanced submarines under Project-75I. “It is logical that we want to go in for new submarines under Project 75I as they are more advanced,” one officer said.
Another officer observed that the Scorpene program was already delayed and the technology would be so much older. “Why get more of them when the more advanced ones are already in the pipeline,” he said.
Mazagon Docks Ltd., Mumbai, is manufacturing the Scorpene conventional submarines with technology transfer from DCNS of France under a $3.75-billion deal signed in October 2005. The first submarine Kalvari is set to join the Navy in August and all six are expected to be inducted by 2022.
India and France have held informal discussions for three additional Scorpenes as a follow-on contract.
With the SP policy delayed, the discussions were expected to gain momentum during the strategic dialogue at the end of the year. However, there is a change of thought with the government notifying the SP model as a chapter of the Defense Procurement Procedure.
The P-75I submarines will be more modern and advanced with all of them equipped with Air Independent Propulsion modules to enhance the reach and stealth characteristics. AIP modules were not part of the Scorpene deal, and the Navy is trying to have them fitted on the last two Scorpenes. That is contingent on the timely delivery of the AIP being indigenously developed by the Defense Research and Development Organization. The deal for six submarines under P-75I is expected to cost about ₹50,000 crore and the tender process will begin soon as per the guidelines of the SP model.