Inquiry ordered into procurement of heavyweight torpedoes for India’s Project 75 submarines

  • 12:00 AM, January 31, 2011
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India’s Central Vigilance Commissioner has ordered an inquiry into the procurement of 98 heavyweight torpedoes for the project P-75 submarines of the Indian Navy. Informed sources told that the inquiry was ordered on the complaint made by one of the bidders in the tender for procurement of the torpedoes, Atlas Elektronik GMBH of Germany. The complaint was reportedly made by Kai Pelzer, Executive Director of Atlas Elektronik which makes the DM2A4 Seahake heavyweight torpedo. The only other bidder is Italy's Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei (WASS), a subsidiary of the Finmeccanica Group. WASS has offered its Black Shark heavyweight torpedo. The complaint sets a new trend of an international company directly approaching the CVC for a grievance related to defence procurement and may embolden other companies from taking similar steps if they have allegations of corruption to make. The complaint refers to irregularities in the conduct of the procurement process, sources said adding that certain specific charges of corruption have been made. The complaint was sent to the CVC which in turn has ordered the inquiry to verify the allegations made. The inquiry was ordered in December 2010. The heavyweight torpedo is a submarine’s main anti-ship weapon and is capable of bringing down large naval vessels such as destroyers. India wants to equip the six submarines of the P-75 project currently under construction with these torpedoes. The P-75 is India’s most ambitious submarine project in which the French firm DCNS has secured a contract for building six Scorpene submarines under a $4 billion contract signed with France in 2005. This also involves transfer of technology to India’s state-owned shipyard, MDL and the first submarine from the P-75 project is expected to be with the Indian Navy by 2015. There have been reports of delays in the construction which have since been sorted out, according to DCNS.
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