- Seven of them are Russian Kilo-class submarines, four are German HDW submarines, and five are French Scorpene-class submarines.
- The Kilos and HDWs are getting old, so a program called Medium Refit-cum-Life Certification (MRLC) is under way to make them last longer.
It is known that Germany will soon send India a proposal to sell advanced conventional submarines through the government-to-government route.
The Navy wants to buy six advanced diesel-electric submarines under Project-75I, which is expected to cost over 45,000 crore. This is because the Navy’s submarine fleet is getting smaller. Because of technical problems, the project has been stuck for a while.
Diplomatic sources say that a plan for sending submarines through the G-to-G route is being made and will soon be given to the Indian government.
Officials and diplomatic sources say that the German Defense Minister is planning to go to India in the next few months. During that trip, the proposal could be made in a formal way.
Officials say that the issue was also talked about when German Chancellor Olaf Scholz came to visit in February.
In January 2020, the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) chose Mazgaon Docks Ltd. (MDL) and Larsen & Toubro (L&T) as the Indian partners for the P-75 deal. This was the first deal to be handled using the strategic partnership model of the procurement process.
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (South Korea), Naval Group (France), Navantia (Spain), Rosoboronexport (Russia), and Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems are the five foreign OEMs (TKMS, Germany).
The Request For Proposal (RFP) was first sent to MDL and L&T in July 2021, giving them 12 weeks to respond. Since then, the deadline has been pushed back several times, most recently to August 2023.
One of the problems with the project was a requirement that the submarine on offer should have a working Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) module with a two-week endurance.
The OEMs also brought up the fact that they could be held responsible for anything. As The Hindu already said, only Germany and South Korea technically meet these requirements.
Officials say that the DAC recently made some things clear. But people in the business said there are still worries. Recently, TKMS, which had been in talks with L&T, decided to work with MDL, while Daewoo, among other things, is having trouble with its own administration. Officials said that because of this, there might only be one vendor, which would slow down the whole process.
Officials had said that once a winner was chosen, the deal had to be handled through an Inter-Governmental Agreement because of how complicated the technical details were.
There are 16 regular submarines in the Navy. Seven of them are Russian Kilo-class submarines, four are German HDW submarines, and five are French Scorpene-class submarines.
Early next year, the sixth and final Scorpene is expected to go into service. The Kilos and HDWs are getting old, so a program called Medium Refit-cum-Life Certification (MRLC) is under way to make them last longer. However, even this would not stop the Navy’s sub-surface fleet from getting smaller.
An AIP module acts as a force multiplier because it lets regular submarines stay underwater for longer. This increases their endurance and makes them harder to find.
When the Scorpene submarines are fixed up after 2024, an AIP module that was made in India will be added.