The nation’s silent service, the Indian Navy, finally kick-starts it’s advanced submarine program – P-75 I - by floating a global Request for Information (RFI) after years of successive delays.
The multi-billion dollar program will for sure ramp up the Navy's capabilities in responding to China's growing naval presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), which has been considered as India's own backyard for years.
The RFI, floated days after the introduction of the Strategic Partnership Model, has been forwarded to six maritime warfare solution providers who have extensive experience in designing and manufacturing advanced submarines.
According to the Ministry of Defense, the RFI has been sent to Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, Naval Group of France, Russia’s Rubin Design Bureau, Navantia based out of Spain, Sweden's Kockums Naval Solutions, and the Japanese consortium of Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
The Navy, through its Request for Information, has asked the vendors to provide details related to their offerings, particularly technical specifications about the submersible platform's operating range, maximum diving depth, and its endurance capabilities in multiple operational modes.
The Indian Navy, in its RFI, has also stated that the submarines should be able to perform both anti-surface and anti-submarine operations while supporting Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR), and Special Forces operations.
Additionally, the global RFI requests the maritime warfare solution providers to offer detailed technical presentations about sharing of sensitive technology, a key component under the Transfer of Technology (ToT) clause, mentioned in the Request for Information.
In due course, the submarine designers, some of which have previously delivered India with cutting-edge naval technologies, will submit application-specific presentations to the Ministry of Defense communicating their aptitudes in meeting the above requirements.
The INR 60,000 crore P75I submarine program will facilitate the Indian Navy with six conventional submarines equipped with state-of-the-art Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) technology. The AIP technology serves as auxiliary power units that can enable added operational flexibility, as well as increased stealth capabilities.
In line with the union government’s flagship initiative - ‘Make in India’ - all the six submarines will be locally developed in India, at Indian shipyards, in consultation with the chosen Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).
The Navy's submarine wing has welcomed the floating of an RFI for scorpene-class submarines, as it has over the years pointed out the imperative need for such advanced platforms to boost the country’s preparedness in the strategic Indian Ocean Region.
Naval experts believe, it will take at least a decade for the first submarine under the P-75 I program to be inducted into the forces, however, its eventual addition will substantially enhance the Navy's capabilities in protecting India's maritime interests.
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