India launches tender to build 6 next-gen indigenous submarines

It’s now official — India has decided to expand its navy fleet with six new Project 75 (India) submarines.

Illustration; Image: Pixabay

On 20 July, the country’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) issued a request for proposal (RFP) for the first acquisition programme under the strategic partnership model for construction of six AIP fitted conventional submarines for the Indian Navy.

The RFP was issued to shortlisted strategic partners (SPs) or Indian applicant companies for the project — Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) and Larsen & Tubro (L&T).

The project cost is over Rs 40,000 crore ($5.4 billion).

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Specifically, Project-75(I) envisages indigenous construction of six conventional submarines (including associated shore support, engineering support Package, training and spares package) with contemporary equipment, weapons & sensors including fuel-cell based air independent propulsion plant (AIP), advanced torpedoes, modern missiles and countermeasure systems.

This would provide a major boost to the indigenous design and construction capability of submarines in India, in addition to bringing in the latest submarine design and technologies as part of the project. 

As informed, the shortlisted SPs to whom the RFP has been issued would be collaborating with any of the shortlisted foreign naval shipbuilders — French Naval Group, German TKMS, Russia’s JSC ROE, South Korean Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) and Spanish Navantia.

These five foreign firms will be technology partners in the SP model. They would enable setting up of dedicated manufacturing lines for these submarines in India by providing transfer of technology for submarine design and other technologies and make India the global hub for submarine design and production. 

“The project would not only aid in boosting the core submarine/ship building industry but would also greatly enhance manufacturing/industrial sector, especially the MSME by development of an industrial eco-system for manufacture of associated spares/systems/equipment related to submarines,” the defense ministry said.

“The overall aim would be to progressively build indigenous capabilities in the public/private sector to design, develop and manufacture complex weapon systems for the future needs of the Armed Forces. This will be an important step towards meeting broader national objectives, encouraging self reliance and aligning the defence sector with the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government.”