12:00 AM, July 7, 2010
The Indian Navy has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to vendors and manufacturers of Submarine Mine Laying Equipment (SMILE) to augment the existing capabilities of its diesel-electric submarine fleet. The RFI indicates that the SMILE should be a blister system capable of laying 24 ground mines and withstanding the maximum underwater speeds of the submarine. Each system should have a glass-reinforced plastic casing designed to fit the contours of the submarine. Each system should also have an independent hydraulic station for engaging and disengaging the SMILE with the submarine and also for loading, unloading and launching of mines. It should have adequate ballasting and de-ballasting arrangements to embark and disembark the SMILE equipment while the submarine is alongside. A service life of 15 years is mandated. Indications are that India will require at least 16 systems to equip the submarines in the nation's fleet. The platforms include the Russian-supplied Project 877 and the French-designed Scorpene. The different hull contours of the two designs suggest that the SMILE order will be split into two subtypes.