The submarines to be made in India under Strategic Partnership Model (SP) is going to cost over Rs 40,000 crore and will be fitted with Fuel-Cell based AIP (Air Independent Propulsion Plant).
The long awaited Request for Proposal for six conventional submarines under Project 75 (I) has finally been issued to two shortlisted Strategic Partners — M/s Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) and M/s Larsen & Tubro (L&T). The submarines to be made in India under Strategic Partnership Model (SP) is going to cost Rs 43,000 crore and will be fitted with Fuel-Cell based AIP (Air Independent Propulsion Plant).
OEMs to partner with the SPs
As has been reported by Financial Express Online in March 2021, the SPs to whom the RFPs have been issued will be collaborating with any of the shortlisted Foreign OEMs including: M/s Naval Group of France (is already working on the `Scorpene’ class subs under Project 75); M/s TKMS of Germany (Type 218 Invincible Class); M/s JSC ROE of Russia (Amur Class); M/s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co Ltd of South Korea (KSS-3 submarine); and M/s Navantia of Spain (S-80 Issac Peral class).
According to an official statement issued by the Ministry of Defence on July 20, 2021, these five companies are world leaders in the field of conventional submarine design and construction as well as other related technologies.
The Role of the OEMs
Under the SP model these OEMs will be the technology partners and will enable the SP in the construction of the submarines, ToT (Transfer of Technology) for various technologies needed in this project as well as help in achieving high levels of indigenization.
By providing ToT for the design and other technologies, these OEMs will also set up dedicated manufacturing lines for these submarines in India. This step will help in making India a global hub for the design and production of subs.
AIP Fitted Conventional Submarines
The indigenous Fuel-Cell based AIP which the Indian Defence and DRDO has been working on for a few years is not expected to be ready in time to be fitted on these submarines.
As reported by Financial Express Online recently, there are two companies in the world who have fuel cell system AIP. These include M/s tkMS (ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems), of Germany and Daewoo of South Korea with a proven fuel cell system; incidentally these companies have been identified as OEMs by the Ministry of Defence to work with the SPs for building the Conventional Submarines.
Importance of AIP
This is required on an urgent basis for the Indian Navy subs in view of the growing presence of the Chinese in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
More about Project 75 (I)
Under this project there will be six modern indigenous conventional submarines fitted with modern missiles, state of the art countermeasures systems, advanced torpedoes, Fuel Cell based AIP, weapons and sensors as well as contemporary equipment.
Project 75 (I) also includes training and spares package; associated shore support; and Engineering Support Package.
Specifications in the RFP
Key features include ToT for manufacture; maintenance; mandatory level of indigenous manufacture of platforms; for design and a few critical equipment and systems.
And to also setting up an ecosystem in India for such indigenisation. And, to incentivise for other key technologies.
The project would not only aid in boosting the core submarine/ship building industry but would also greatly enhance the manufacturing/industrial sector, especially the MSME by development of an industrial eco-system for manufacture of associated spares/systems/equipment related to submarines. In order to achieve these objectives,