In a major move, the Defence Ministry has started the process to acquire six advanced submarines under the ambitious ‘strategic partnership’ (SP) model at a cost of around Rs 45,000 crore, official sources said Wednesday.
The submarines, to be fitted with anti-ship cruise missiles and other lethal weapons, will be constructed in India jointly by an Indian defence major and a foreign submarine manufacturer under the P-75 (I) programme.
The sources said the Expression of Interest will be issued to leading manufacturers of advanced submarines in four weeks, adding the defence ministry has started the process for selecting both the Indian and foreign defence entities for the Rs 45,000 crore project.
They said an empowered committee appointed in January to implement the mega project has already held consultations with short-listed Indian defence majors including Adani Defence, Larsen and Toubro and state-run Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) as part of the process to identify the domestic partner. The defence ministry has already drafted an Expression of Interest for the procurement, and it has been shared with prospective contenders, they said.
The project will be implemented under the strategic partnership model which provides for roping in private firms to build select military platforms in India in partnership with foreign defence manufacturers. Six Scorpene-class submarines are currently being built under ‘Project 75’ of the Indian Navy. The submarines, designed by French firm Naval Group, are being built by the Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai. The project P-75 (I) will be a follow-on of Project 75.
In January, the defence ministry cleared the long-delayed project. It will be the second project to be implemented under the strategic partnership model. The first project to get government’s nod for implementation under the new model was acquisition of 111 utility helicopters for the Navy at a cost of over Rs 21,000 crore.
Navy officials said construction of six submarines under Project 75 (I) will provide a major boost to the existing submarine design and manufacturing eco-system in India.