French DCNS is likely to lose an order to build three additional submarines apart from the existing order of six already being built at Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL) as part of the P-75 project due to last month’s Scorpene document leak.
Thus, the Scorpene strength with the Indian Navy — as per the original Project-75 programme — might remain only at six. The Mumbai-based MDL, which is constructing the boats under a Transfer of Technology (ToT) from France, is expected to release all the boats to the Indian Navy by 2020, Asian Age reported Monday.
The first Scorpene, the INS Kalvari, began ‘sea trials’ in May this year while the second, INS Khanderi, is being prepared to be launched by the MDL later this year. However, the leak will not affect DCNS’s prospects for the recent Rs 60,000 crore (US $9 billion) plus Project-75 India programme (P-75I), where foreign shipbuilders will build six more conventional submarines in India itself in partnership with an Indian shipyard.
France is again offering the Scorpene, along with several other contenders that include Russia (Amur submarines), Sweden (Gotland), Japan (Soryu), Germany (HDW Type 214) and Spain (Navantia S-80). “The number of Scorpene boats under the P-75 will remain only six now owing to the scare generated by the leak,” said a senior defence official, privy to the developments.
As regards the seriousness of the leak itself, Navy officers are not worried after many serving and retired submariners who reviewed the leaked documents for The Asian Age, characterised the performance characteristics published in The Australian as “generic”, which are already available on the internet. The papers carried information on the submarines’ intelligence gathering frequencies, Sonar, sound and acoustic characteristics, magnetic/electromagnetic behaviour and weapons data etc. Officers explained that the physical traits undergo changes over time and are subject to upgradation during ‘refits’ and ‘Mid-Life Upgrades’ (MLUG).
“We are constructing the boats in India itself, unlike Chile or Australia, which are buying them off the shelf from the French. This offers us scope to tweak those systems. The first submarine, Kalvari, hasn’t even been inducted yet while the rest will be released to the Indian Navy at the rate of one per year by 2020. So each of them is a full decade and a half away from reaching the MLUG and refit stage,” the news daily quoted a Captain-rank officer from the submarine arm.
Another officer pointed out that the documents published in The Australian date back to even before the contract between India and France was signed in 2005.
Submariners also explained that technical aspects such as stealth features, noise levels, magnetic/electromagnetic data are something that undergo change over time. “A submarine’s noise is a result of its on-board machinery and propeller configurations. They are different at different speeds, depths, seawater and saline conditions. They are so distinct that even the acoustic signatures for two vessels of the same class are not the same,” said another submarine officer.
Commodore PR Franklin (retd), a former submariner, who has authored a book chronicling the history of the Soviet-origin ‘Foxtrot’ class submarines, titled ‘Foxtrots of the Indian Navy’, concurs with these views. “We have tropical waters unlike the waters in the temperate and higher latitudes for which, the French, German, US and British submarines are built. The performance deteriorates drastically when they operate in warmer and more saline waters. Published figures and actual performance figures therefore vary seasonally too. Hence even classified and actual figures of performance would be vastly different,” Franklin said.
Malaysian Defense ministry is least worried over a recent data leak report as their Scorpene submarines have different specifications from what DCNS had designed for India and Chile. The leaked documents in The Australian had mentions details about the “entire” combat capability of six Scorpene-class submarines DCNS had designed for India, variants of which are used by Malaysia and Chile ― should be investigated and verified first, the defense minister ministry stated
A fresh tranche of sensitive documents pertaining to Indian Navys Scorpene submarine project have been uploaded by ‘the Australian on its website Thursday even as the Indian ministry of defense tried to downplay the leak as ‘not serious. The new set of documents with Indian Navy insignia on it and marked “Restricted Scorpene India” include the sonar system, including the frequencies used by its key components, the Flank Array, the Sonar Intercept Receiver, the Distributed Array and the Active Array have been compromised
The leaked documents on Indias Scorpene submarine that have been posted on the website by an Australian news agency have been examined and do not pose any security compromise as the vital parameters have been blacked out. The Indian MoD has seized the documents and have examined the documents, it said in a press statement Thursday
Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee and Indian Navy Chief is touring France this week where he will be visiting the French Airbase at Landivisiau and the French Submarine Facility at Cherbourg. He will be briefed on the operational employability of the Rafale aircraft by the French Air Force
DCNS has delivered the FREMM multi-mission frigate Auvergne to the French Navy, Tuesday. This frigate is the fourth of the series ordered by OCCAR1 on behalf of the DGA (French armament procurement agency)
DCNS has completed sea trials of the first Gowind 2500 corvette designed and built at the company's site in France for the Egyptian navy. The new corvette is being marketed at the naval defence market, and ten Gowind 2500 vessels are on order with international navies
DCNS and Airbus Helicopters are joining forces to design French Navys tactical Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) drone system. The teaming of DCNS and Airbus Helicopters will be equipped to address all technical challenges arising from the naval integration of the drones through the creation of robust system architecture that can evolve and adapt to meet every need, according to joint statement issued today
DCNS has unveiled [email protected] new-generation digital frigate at Euronaval Exhibition in France. The [email protected] front-line digital frigate renews the heavily-armed 4,000-tonne frigate segment, the company announced today
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