Naval group of France has completed its 10 years of business in India this year. The industrial group which specializes in naval defence and marine renewable energy has been working with Indian Navy and Mazagon Dock on various projects including P75 Scorpene submarines (besides P28 ASW corvettes and AIP development with NMRL/ DRDO). Rear Admiral RK Shrawat, Chairman & MD, Naval Group in India talks about the group’s presence in India with Huma Siddiqui. Following are excerpts from the exclusive interview:
How has it been working with the Indian Navy and MDL?
Naval Group celebrated 10th year of robust and constructive business in India on Sept 18. Starting with humble 10 professionals – we are proud to have a committed team of more than 50 at this moment.
We rejoice our long-lasting partnership with MDL and Indian Navy in frame of P75 Scorpene submarines (besides P28 ASW corvettes and Air-independent propulsion (AIP) development with Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL) / Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Being associated with such prestigious national projects, gave us opportunity to create, nurture and extends our industrial ecosystem in India and create a sustainable based for future naval projects.
Today Naval Group is in discussion with the Indian Navy, for a number of future programs which include service support to Indian Navy for maintenance of P75 submarines, future indigenised aircraft carrier and heavyweight torpedoes amongst others. We are also proposing advanced simulators for submarine applications to Indian Navy. Such simulators are being proposed with high indigenous content and in partnership with Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), which is not only a key shipbuilder but also a centre of excellence for simulators.
INS Kalvari, the first indigenous Scorpene submarine under P75 programme was commissioned last year. What is the status of the rest of the boats?
First Scorpene submarine INS Kalvari was commissioned on Dec 14 last year at the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The second submarine is undergoing sea trials right now and will get commissioned in next couple of months. The third submarine Karanj was launched in January this year. The program is well on track and we are presently supporting Indian Navy for preparation of the maintenance of the boats for their best availability to their squadron.
How do you intend to support Indian Navy in maintaining these P75 submarines? And how is the support in India for maintenance different from that in France?
In France, Naval Group is designing, building and providing in-service support based on availability of the platform to French Navy. The expertise, technical matters, tools and infrastructure are operated by Naval Group under patronage of the French Navy for all the frontline naval platforms including submarines.
However in India, the navy is experienced in operating different classes of submarines including EKM and SSK. Consequently taking into account Indian Navy’s experience of maintaining and operating submarines, and existing infrastructure at its naval bases, Naval Group is proposing to assist Indian Navy in the best adapted manner to ensure optimized operability and sea time of Indian Navy’s P75 submarines. We are also training our local teams under supervision of experts from maintenance domain to perform critical tasks on-board the submarines. In addition we are also proposing high-tech reference platforms, simulators and industrial means/ tools to provide optimized and effective in-service support ensuring maximum availability of these submarines in close future.