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Project 75I: Indian Navy kicks off lethal submarine project

Date: 05 April 2019 Tags: Defence & Security

Indian Navy has initiated acquisition procedure to procure six new-generation conventional stealth submarines under ambitious 'Project-75 India' at estimated outlay of Rs.50,000 crore.

It has initiated tender process by issuing initial Expression of Interest (EoI) to foreign vendors willing to participate in this mega-project along with Indian Partners under strategic partnership model.

The acquisition procedure comes after Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had approved this project in February 2019.

Project-75 India

  • It is follow-on of Project 75 Kalvari-class or Scorpene class submarines for Indian Navy. Under it, the Indian Navy intends to acquire 6 new-generation conventional stealth submarines.
  • Submarines under it will be constructed in Indian shipyards under strategic partnership model between foreign vendor and its Indian partner.
  • These submarines will be almost 50% bigger than under-construction Scorpene class submarines being built at the Mazagon Dockyards Limited in Mumbai.
  • These submarines will have advanced stealth capabilities such as greater ability to suppress noise and acoustic signatures. They will also be outfitted with Air-independent propulsion (AIP) fuel cells which can significantly increase submerged endurance and operational range.
  • They will have advanced detection range and combat management system besides better sensors for optimum performance. Their weapon system will be mix of torpedoes and missiles.
  • They will have vertical launch system (VLS) to enable them to carry multiple Brahmos supersonic cruise missiles, making them fully capable of anti-surface (land attack) and anti-ship warfare missions.

Indian Navy’s Requirement

It wants Project 75 I submarines to be equipped with heavy-duty firepower, having 12 Land Attack Cruise Missiles (LACM) along with Anti-Ship cruise missiles (ASCM).  It also want these submarines to have capacity to carry and launch 18 heavyweight torpedoes in the sea.

Background

P75I project is part of 30-year submarine building plan that ends in 2030. As part of this plan, India seeks to have 24 submarines — 18 conventional submarines and six nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs) in its fleet to manage its area of responsibility stretching from Malacca Straits to the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and for effective deterrence. Indian Navy is looking to build its assets to consolidate its supremacy in strategically important IOR where Chinese Navy also operates. 

Indian Navy has fleet of more than 100 submarines and surface warships. It currently possesses 14 conventional submarines, including Scorpene. But only half are operational at any given point of time. India Navy also has two nuclear-powered submarines INS Arihant (SSBN, a ballistic missile submarine) and INS Chakra (SSN, a nuclear-powered one) leased from Russia.

Recently, in March 2019 India had sealed a US $3 billion deal with Russia for leasing of nuclear-powered attack submarine (INS Chakra III) for Indian Navy for a period of 10 years. Under this deal, Russia will have to deliver Chakra III, an Akula class submarine, to the Indian Navy by 2025. It will be the third Russian submarine to be leased to the Indian Navy.