Pipavav Defence & Offshore Engineering Co (PDOC) has inked an agreement with JSC Ship Repairing Centre Zvyozdochka, Russia, for medium refits and life certification of 877 EKM submarines in India.
The ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill Development’ programmes of PM Narendra Modi form the basis of the cooperation protocol between PDOC and Zvyozdochka. PDOC proposes to execute the programme under a JV, with 51% stake, consistent with defence ministry regulations.
This will also mark the first time the work for refit of submarines is being considered for the private sector in India. The indicative value of work proposed to be undertaken by the proposed JV is about Rs 11,000 crore.
The skills and experience developed by the JV will position PDOC favourably for undertaking similar work for large submarine forces of similar class, deployed by countries like Algeria, Vietnam and Iran, with potential additional revenues of about Rs 20,000 crore.
Under the terms of the agreement, Zvyozdochka will provide technical assistance and support to the JV, including inter alia for enhancement of infrastructure at PDOC facilities, training of engineers, etc. PDOC technicians will also be closely associated with the first refit to be carried out in Russia.
According to the spokesperson for PDOC, “Refit and modernisation of submarines is an ongoing need for our blue water navy. PDOC and Zvyozdochka are committed to playing an enabling role towards enhancing naval preparedness.”
A refit in India has advantages, of which the most vital are savings on transportation costs to Russia and back, and enhanced operational availability of submarines for thousands of additional hours, by avoiding the downtime in transporting them to Russian and back. The Russian company had conducted a survey of shipyards in India, both in public and private sector, before selecting PDOC as partner on the basis of world class infrastructure and Reliance Group’s declared commitment to transform PDOC into India’s leading naval and defence shipyard.