In­dias mas­sively de­layed ef­fort to cre­ate a sec­ond new gen­er­a­tion con­ven­tional at­tack sub­ma­rine pro­duc­tion line in the coun­try has fi­nally lifted off, though sev­eral years adrift. With the apex De­fence Ac­qui­si­tion Coun­cil (DAC) clear­ing decks for the ` 53,000-crore Project 75 In­dia [P-75(I)], the Min­istry of De­fence will spend the next two months com­pil­ing a list of pub­lic sec­tor and pri­vately owned ship­yards in the coun­try ca­pa­ble of ab­sorb­ing tech­nol­ogy and build­ing sub­marines. A spe­cial com­mit­tee, headed by the Sec­re­tary (De­fence Pro­duc­tion) and pop­u­lated by ex­perts from the In­dian Navy, in­clud­ing its Con­troller War­ships Pro­duc­tion & Ac­qui­si­tion, will in­ter­face with the ship­yards to see if they make the cut across a plethora of pa­ram­e­ters, in­clud­ing tech­ni­cal, fi­nan­cial health, sup­plier base, man­power base, or­der book, in­dus­trial ca­pac­ity, etc.

Top sources in­di­cate to SPÕs that the ship­yards that will be sized up for the mam­moth pro­gramme in­clude Mum­baiÕs Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL), Hin­dus­tan Ship­yard Ltd ( HSL) in Visakha­p­at­nam, Goa Ship­yard Ltd (GSL), Gar­den Reach Ship­builders & En­gi­neers Ltd (GRSE) in Kolkata, Cochin Ship­yard Ltd, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Pi­pavav. The project def­i­ni­tion has been through a slew of com­bi­na­tions of where the sub­marines will be made, with the re­cent decision fi­nally de­cid­ing that all six sub­marines will be built in In­dia on the lines of the pre­de­ces­sor P-75 Scor­pene pro­duc­tion line at MDL, Mumbai. Bids will be in­vited from In­dian ship­yards to build the six sub­marines us­ing trans­ferred tech­nol­ogy from a for­eign part­ner. The field, as it stands, is wide open.

Sub­ma­rine con­tenders in­clude Frances DCNS Scor­pene, Rus­si­aÕs Ru­bin Amur 1650, the Ger­man HDW Type 214, SpainÕs Na­van­tia S-80 and pos­si­bly Swe­dens Kock­ums Archer class. With the pro­posed Ital­ian-Rus­sian S1000 plat­form set to be in­def­i­nitely post­poned, it doesn’t fig­ure. The sub­marines will need to be equipped land at­tack mis­siles and air in­de­pen­dent propul­sion.

As re­ported by SPs, Rus­sias Cen­tral De­sign Bureau for Marine En­gi­neer­ing Ru­bin has mounted an ag­gres­sive cam­paign for the Amur 1650, which it re­gards as a pri­or­ity project for the Rus­sian mil­i­tary in­dus­trial com­plex con­sid­er­ing that In­dia has shifted away from Soviet con­ven­tional sub­marines fol­low­ing the Kilo class. Amur 1650 is the most ef­fec­tive mod­ern non-nu­clear sub­ma­rine avail­able to­day. Com­pared to sim­i­lar boats in its class, the Amur dis­tin­guishes it­self by pos­sess­ing the ca­pa­bil­ity to strike mis­sile salvo at­tacks from all tor­pedo tubes against sea and fixed land tar­gets, tar­get de­tec­tion range in­creased with re­spect to other ex­ist­ing sonar means due to avail­abil­ity of unique sonar sys­tem and a far lower noise level.

DCNS has also pushed hard for In­dia to choose to build more Scor­pene sub­marines, given a line al­ready ex­ists. Ger­many hasnt for­got­ten its loss to DCNS in In­dias Project 75, and will be look­ing to turn the ta­bles in the P-75(I) pro­gramme with the Class 209s suc­ces­sor, the Class 214 sub­ma­rine. Ac­cord­ing to the company, It is well equipped to un­der­take a wide scope of mis­sions rang­ing from op­er­a­tions in lit­toral wa­ters to ocean-go­ing pa­trols. The mod­u­lar weapon and sen­sor mix, in com­bi­na­tion with the sub­marines air-in­de­pen­dent fea­tures, makes the HDW Class 214 pre­des­tined for anti-sur­face ship and anti-sub­ma­rine op­er­a­tions, in­tel­li­gence, surveil­lance and re­con­nais­sance tasks, spe­cial forces op­er­a­tions. The HDW Class 214 de­sign is char­ac­terised by in­creased un­der­wa­ter en­durance and low de­tec­tion risk us­ing the proven fuel cell sys­tem for air-in­de­pen­dent propul­sion, in­creased div­ing depth, low revo­lu­tion, per­ma­nently ex­cited PER­MASYN mo­tor for max­i­mum speed with­out tran­sient switch­ing noises, op­ti­mised sig­na­ture man­age­ment, sonar de­vel­op­ment within the ISUS 90 for in­creased low-fre­quency de­tec­tion ranges ( flank ar­ray), large weapon pay­load for a mix of tor­pe­does, mis­siles and mines, in­te­gra­tion of tor­pedo coun­ter­mea­sures (TCM) sys­tem. Thanks to its mod­u­lar de­sign and high de­gree of au­to­ma­tion, this sub­ma­rine is a very cost-ef­fec­tive weapon sys­tem, ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to de­tect and thus the un­beat­able so­lu­tion for fu­ture­ori­en­tated navies. Spains Na­van­tia S-80 could be a dark horse con­tender. With its se­vere weight is­sues re­port­edly sorted out and the con­struc­tion of boats for the Span­ish Navy fi­nally on track.

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