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11:42 AM, March 9, 2015
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Scorpene-class diesel-electric submarine. Photo Courtesy:Wikipedia

Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Pipavav Defense & Offshore Engineering have won $9.5 billion contract to build six diesel submarines with Air Independent Propulsion System (AIP) technology for Indian Navy, Local media reported Monday.

The new submarines will have advanced detection range and combat management systems and better sensors for optimum performance.

"Project 75i, as we call it, is for purchasing six next-generation submarines with air independent propulsion (AIP) system for the Indian Navy over the next seven-eight years. It can fire both torpedoes and missiles," a senior official in the defence ministry was quoted as saying by media.

"Conventional submarines usually need to come to the surface every three-four days for oxygen," said an official of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) that has developed such a system.

"But with AIP, they can stay for under water for two-three weeks," the official added.

The submarines in P-75i project will outline various critical parameters including the weight and design of the submarine. They are expected to be bigger than the 1800-ton Scorpene class being built for P-75 project.

Among the potential foreign submarine contenders in the race for Project 75i are French DCNS ‘Scorpene’, Russia’s Rubin Amur 1650, the German HDW Type 214, Spain’s Navantia S-80 which broke its partnership with DCNS has offered S-80 design with an ethanol based AIP supplied by Abengoa.

The government had given its clearance three years ago for six submarines with AIP capability and subsequently decided last year to go for their construction on Indian yards as part of "Make in India" campaign.

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