India’s defence acquisition council (DAC) has approved the procurement of six submarines from local shipyards worth INR 5000 crore (US$8.3 billion).
The DAC decision today gives the go-ahead to the Project-75I, a program to build six submarines equipped with an air-independent propulsion and a land-attack missile.
Various media outlets quoted official sources as stating that a committee will now be formed by the Defence Ministry which will study both public and private shipyards over the next 6-8 weeks.
Following this the Ministry will issue Request for Proposal (RFP) to shipyards that will be identified as having the capability and manpower to build six submarines.
The shipyards which receive the RFP will be allowed to have foreign partners with the condition of complete technology transfer.
The decision is expected to start a rush of collaboration talks between Indian shipyards and international submarine integrators and equipment manufacturers from the US, UK, France, Russia and Israel.
The P75I is a follow-on of the P-75 submarine project which is being built in India with technology transfer from DCNS, France. The first two of the six submarines under the project are being built at the Mazagaon shipyard in Mumbai.
The P75 project, also called the “Scorpene” submarine program, is behind schedule by several years with the first sub expected to hit the waters in 2016-17.
The P75I project envisages a wholly indigenous program of submarine building with experience gained from the P75 program.
The Indian Navy operates seven Russian-made Kilo-class and four German-made SSK submarines, the last of which joined service in the late 1990s. In the past year, three Kilo-class submarines were unavailable due to accidents severely depleting the submarine fleet.