Cur­rent and Fu­ture Chal­lenges of Un­der­wa­ter Ve­hi­cles

De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar men­tioned that the cur­rent gov­ern­ment has cleared more than ` 2,00,000 crore worth of de­fence ac­qui­si­tion since it came to power and is re­solved to or­der ` 3,00,000 crore (cu­mu­la­tive ba­sis) by the end of this fi­nan­cial ye


De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar men­tioned that the cur­rent gov­ern­ment has cleared more than ` 2,00,000 crore worth of de­fence ac­qui­si­tion since it came to power. Rear Ad­mi­ral Sushil Ram­say (Retd)

IN­DIAN NAVY EM­BARKED UPON the in­dige­nous route for de­sign, devel­op­ment and con­struc­tion of its force lev­els in the early 1970s. Whilst the Sur­face Ships De­sign Group of the Direc­torate of Naval De­sign con­tin­ued its suc­cess­ful march the Sub­ma­rine De­sign Group came into ex­is­tence only dur­ing 1986. To com­mem­o­rate the com­ple­tion of three decades of the Sub­ma­rine De­sign Group, In­dian Navy along with FICCI or­gan­ised an International Sem­i­nar on Cur­rent and Fu­ture Chal­lenges of Un­der­wa­ter Ve­hi­cle.

Wel­com­ing the au­gust gath­er­ing, Har­shavard­han Neo­tia, Pres­i­dent of Federation of In­dian Chambers of Com­merce & In­dus­try (FICCI), ex­pressed hap­pi­ness over the highly col­lab­o­ra­tive work be­tween In­dian Navy’s Sub­ma­rine De­sign Direc­torate, Min­istry of De­fence (MoD) and in­dus­try and stated that it is vis­i­ble in in­dus­try’s highly pro­duc­tive and frank in­ter­ac­tions with MoD staff to achieve vi­tal na­tional ob­jec­tive of in­dige­nous de­sign and con­struc­tion of un­der­wa­ter plat­forms. He fur­ther added that In­dian in­dus­try be­lieves that P-75(I) pro­gramme is on track and is look­ing for­ward to par­tic­i­pate productively in this pro­gramme as well as the sub­se­quent ones. He stated that in­dus­try sees ‘Make in In­dia’ (De­fence) as an op­por­tu­nity to­wards not only achiev­ing self-re­liance but also cre­at­ing the ecosys­tem that would pro­mote high tech­nol­ogy man­u­fac­ture and high skill jobs in the coun­try.

De­liv­er­ing the in­au­gu­ral ad­dress, De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar em­pha­sised the com­mit­ment of gov­ern­ment to­wards mod­erni­sa­tion of armed forces. He men­tioned that the cur­rent gov­ern­ment has cleared more than ` 2,00,000 crore worth of de­fence ac­qui­si­tion since it came to power and is re­solved to or­der ` 3,00,000 crore (cu­mu­la­tive ba­sis) by the end of this fi­nan­cial year. He com­mended In­dian Navy for com­mend­able track record in in­dige­nously de­sign­ing and con­struct­ing the ad­vanced front­line war­ships such as de­stroy­ers, frigates, anti-sub­ma­rine war­fare corvettes, land­ing crafts and is in the midst of con­struct­ing an air­craft car­rier. He said that in con­so­nance with ‘Make in In­dia’ cam­paign the in­dige­nous con­tent of the lat­est naval plat­forms to­day is stag­ger­ing 85-90 per cent. He men­tioned that the 24 sub­marines which are to be ac­quired as part of the 30-year sub­ma­rine build­ing plan of In­dia, out of which six sub­marines have been or­dered on the Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL) and the same are be­ing built with the help of trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy (ToT) from DCNS. Com­par­ing sub­ma­rine con­struc­tion pro­grammes with other coun­tries, the De­fence Min­is­ter opined that In­dia should re­think its sub­ma­rine build­ing pro­gramme and ex­pand its fleet be­yond the planned 24. He brought out while the un­der­wa­ter plat­forms built un­der the aegis of ATVP achieved in­dige­nous con­tents of over 70 per cent, P-75 pro­gramme has not achieved quan­ti­ta­tive in­di­geni­sa­tion which is lim­ited to mere 30 per cent.

While em­pha­sis­ing the im­por­tance of strate­gic pro­grammes, he men­tioned that RFP ( re­quest for pro­posal) for the much awaited P-75(I) pro­ject un­der which six more sub­marines are to be built with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of pri­vate sec­tor will be un­der the strate­gic part­ner­ship (SP) model. He in­formed that a ded­i­cated chap­ter on SP was be­ing drafted and would be fi­nalised soon. There­after it will be sub­mit­ted for clear­ance by the De­fence Ac­qui­si­tion Coun­cil (DAC) and fi­nally re­ferred to the Cab­i­net for ap­proval. Af­ter the ap­proval of SP model, the pro­ject P-75(I) will be fast­tracked for im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Giv­ing the key­note ad­dress, Ad­mi­ral Su­nil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff, men­tioned that the aim of the In­dian Navy is to in­dige­nously de­sign and con­struct the sub­marines with the help of in­dus­try, academia and R&D. He brought out that naval plat­forms op­er­ate for nearly 25 to 30 years and thus de­pend on the part­ner­ship with the in­dus­try in a mean­ing­ful and sus­tain­able man­ner. He fur­ther added that the Naval Ca­pa­bil­ity Build­ing Plan can­not be ac­com­plished by the In­dian Navy alone and it has to be a col­lec­tive ef­fort of the gov­ern­ment agen­cies, R&D and in­dus­try. He em­pha­sised that the above ob­jec­tive needed firm sup­port of ro­bust bud­gets and sound in­fra­struc­ture. He shared Navy’s be­lief that self-re­spect comes from self-re­liance. He shared dis­ap­point­ment that while In­dian Navy achieved large-scale in­di­geni­sa­tion in war­ship build­ing the same can­not be said for sub­ma­rine de­sign and con­struc­tion. He was ap­pre­cia­tive of the courage of the pri­vate in­dus­try hav­ing in­vested huge sums in this niche sec­tor and has been re­silient in with­stand­ing the long ges­ta­tion pe­ri­ods. He ac­knowl­edged that such ef­forts are to be sup­ported by long-term part­ner­ships and com­mit­ted that Navy and in­dus­try would con­tinue to grow on in­di­geni­sa­tion. He talked of the SP model and said that it was a step in the right di­rec­tion for build­ing the much needed sub­marines at the re­quired pace. He said Navy would con­tinue to pro­mote higher R&D in in­dus­try and part­ner with those who pos­sess do­main ca­pac­ity and ca­pa­bil­ity. He re­it­er­ated that life-cy­cle sup­port of the sub­marines is also to be given equal im­por­tance and em­pha­sised that time­lines for de­liv­ery of sub­marines is an im­por­tant fac­tor since de­lays would lead to ob­so­les­cence of tech­nol­ogy on board. He high­lighted the need for cre­ativ­ity, adapt­abil­ity, and flex­i­bil­ity to com­press pro­gramme cy­cle times.

Rear Ad­mi­ral C.S. Rao, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral (Sub­ma­rine De­sign Group), in his in­tro­duc­tory ad­dress ex­plained the rea­sons for low vis­i­bil­ity of Direc­torate of Naval De­sign (SDG) match­ing that of the un­der­wa­ter plat­forms. He traced the his­tory of the Sub­ma­rine De­sign Or­gan­i­sa­tion of the In­dian Navy and re­it­er­ated the need to nur­ture the skills re­quired for de­sign and con­struc­tion of these man-made stealthy sea­mon­sters. He high­lighted the role of sub­marines in the con­text of mar­itime se­cu­rity im­per­a­tives and em­pha­sised the im­por­tance of syn­ergy with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of academia, re­search, devel­op­ment agen­cies and the in­dus­try to build in­dige­nous ca­pa­bil­i­ties in its de­sign and con­struc­tion.

These as­pects were ad­dressed and dis­cussed ex­ten­sively in two ses­sions of the sem­i­nar. Ses­sion-I on theme of Self-Re­liance in De­sign and Con­struc­tion of Sub­marines: Syn­ergy be­tween User, Academia and Re­search & Devel­op­ment Agen­cies was chaired by Vice Ad­mi­ral A.K. Bahl, Pro­gramme Di­rec­tor, ATVP. Par­tic­i­pants were Rear Ad­mi­ral S.P. Shri­vas­tav, Ad­di­tional Di­rec­tor Gen­eral (SDG); Dr Sub­hash C. Sati, Dis­tin­guished Sci­en­tist, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral (Naval Sys­tems & Ma­te­ri­als), DRDO; Pro- fes­sor S.N. Singh, Depart­ment of Ap­plied Me­chan­ics, IIT, Delhi; Cap­tain Ra­jiv Lath (Retd), Di­rec­tor (Sub­ma­rine & Heavy En­gi­neer­ing), Mazagon Dock Ltd; Stephane Neu­veg­lise, Se­nior Busi­ness & In­dus­try Con­sul­tant – Marine, AVEVA; An­drei Bara­nov, Deputy Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, Cen­tral De­sign Bureau for Marine En­gi­neer­ing, Ru­bin; Com­modore Mukesh Bhar­gava (Retd), Vice Pres­i­dent, L&T Heavy En­gi­neer­ing and Rear Ad­mi­ral Raja Menon (Retd), Dis­tin­guished Fel­low, In­sti­tute of Peace and Con­flict Stud­ies.

Ses­sion-II was chaired by Rear Ad­mi­ral S. Mahin­dru, Flag Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing Ma­ha­rash­tra Area, with pre­sen­ta­tions from Rear Ad­mi­ral Mo­hit Gupta, As­sis­tant Chief of Naval Staff (Sub­marines); Per Malm­borg, Head of Sys­tems Devel­op­ment, Saab Kock­ums; Stephan Me­u­nie, Head of Sub­marines Busi­ness Devel­op­ment for DCNS; A. Srini­vas Na­graj, Vice Pres­i­dent, NED En­ergy Lim­ited; Manoj Singh, In­dus­try So­lu­tion Man­ager, Siemens; Segei V. Shedko, Head of Sec­tor, Krylov State Re­search Cen­tre, Rus­sia and Alek­sandr A. Is­mag­ilov, Lead En­gi­neer, Krylov State Re­search Cen­tre, Rus­sia.

Speak­ing dur­ing the vale­dic­tory ses­sion were em­i­nent speak­ers like Jayant D. Patil, Chair­man, De­fence and Aero­space Com­mit­tee FICCI and Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent and Mem­ber of the Board L&T Heavy En­gi­neer­ing and L&T Ship­build­ing; Bernard Buis­son, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, DCNS In­dia and Vice Ad­mi­ral D.M. Desh­pande, Con­troller of War­ship Pro­duc­tion & Ac­qui­si­tion. The vale­dic­tory ad­dress was made by Dr S. Christo­pher, Sec­re­tary R&D, Min­istry of De­fence, which was fol­lowed by a vote of thanks by Rear Ad­mi­ral C.S. Rao for an en­thu­si­as­tic par­tic­i­pa­tion in the sem­i­nar and for those who added much value through ex­cel­lent pre­sen­ta­tions, ar­tic­u­la­tions and in­ten­sive in­ter­ac­tion to make the sem­i­nar truly a great suc­cess.


(L-R): Rear Ad­mi­ral C.S. Rao; Chief of the Naval Staff Ad­mi­ral Su­nil Lanba; De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar; Har­shavard­han Neo­tia; and Jayant D. Patil.

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