Defenseworld.net interviewed Bernard Buisson, Managing Director, DCNS India who spoke about a wide range of issues concerning submarine projects of the Indian Navy.
DW : Please give us an update on the P75 programme since we last met in February this year? Has there been any significant progress?
Bernard Buisson: The programme is progressing well. MDL has already started the production of the pressure hull for the last submarine (number 6). It has also started the outfitting/integration of equipments inside section hulls of submarine number one.
DW : Are we on track with the last declared delivery schedule?
Bernard Buisson: We are confident MDL, with the support of DCNS, should be able to abide by the last declared delivery schedule. The first Scorpene is scheduled to be launched end of 2013 for a commissioning in 2015.
DW : Has there been a decision on AIP for the 5th and 6th Submarine? And will DCNS be providing a solution for AIP? Is it likely to be based on Fuel cell technology or MESMA? What will be the implications on price? Will the project have to be rescheduled if IN elects to go in for AIP?
Bernard Buisson: We have had various technical discussions with the India Navy on AIP. Should there be a need for AIP, we are ready to make an offer whenever requested. Depending on when an order is passed, it should not have any impact on the delivery of the 5th and 6th Scorpenes.
DW : Will you transfer AIP technology to India? Are you in talks with any government agency for developing an indigenous AIP solution?
Bernard Buisson: We would be totally ready to indigenize significant subsystems/components, some of which could be used for any other AIP system the Indian Navy might want to chose later on.
DW : There have been talks about repeat order of 3 Scorpene. What can you tell us about this?
Bernard Buisson: Indian Navy has not contacted us for any additional Scorpene. In any case, as soon as the first submarine will have been successfully commissioned, MDL should be in a position to manufacture any additional submarine(s) easily (successful absorption of all TOTs).
DW : What is the status of P75I? RFP status? Are you participating in this program. 9. When do you anticipate first deliveries of the P75 I program?
Bernard Buisson: We have answered the RFI and are now waiting for the RFP. We believe we will be in a position to deliver a submarine meeting all the Users’ expectations when the RFP will be issued. It is our duty and obligations.
DW : What missile/Torpedo do you have in mind to offer for the P75I program?
Bernard Buisson: Our offer for the P75I will have to be fully compliant with IN’s requirement. As of to date, we cannot comment much on this matter.
DW : What is the status of the LPD program? RFP date? Who would you be tying up with?
Bernard Buisson: The LPD program is a Buy and Make (Indian) project. For that matter only local shipyards are consulted by IN. We would obviously be interested in cooperating with Indian shipyards to present our sea proven Mistral LPD.
DW : Please let us know what other naval programs you are participating in?
Bernard Buisson: P75 is a key programme for DCNS, we are committed to its success and it is our priority which mobilizes all our energies and attention. On a wider note, whatever the Indian needs are, DCNS has an expertise (the Group is unique in developing such a range of solutions from OPVs to CVN and from SSKs to SSBNs) and can surely collaborate with the industry on adapted solutions.