The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) on Tuesday selected Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited and Larsen and Toubro (L&T) as Indian strategic partners for the Rs 45,000-crore project to build six conventional submarines in India in partnership with a foreign partner, which will provide the technology.
The Adani Group, which had bid in partnership with the public sector Hindustan Shipyard Limited, was not selected since it did not fulfill the requisite criteria, sources in Defence Ministry and the Indian Navy said.
The DAC, headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, has also selected five foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), and the two Indian strategic partners will have to now tie up with one of the five OEMs each to bid for the project when the Request for Proposal is issued. The five foreign OEMs that got DAC’s approval are the Naval Group of France, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (Germany), Navantia (Spain), Rubin Central Design Bureau (Russia), and DSME (South Korea).
While the Indian companies were shortlisted for their capability to integrate systems, expertise in shipbuilding domain and the financial strength, the foreign OEMs were judged primarily on their submarine design, which had to meet the Navy’s Qualitative Requirements and the Transfer of Technology and Indigenous Content criteria.
The Union government had issued an Expression of Interest in June 2019 to build six conventional submarines — the P-75 (India) Project. It is the second project undertaken under the latest Strategic Partnership Model, the other being the procurement of 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH).
The DAC’s approval for Indian partners and foreign OEMs comes almost a year after the project was approved on January 31, 2019 by DAC to be taken up under the strategic partnership model.
The Indian partners will have to set up dedicated manufacturing lines in partnership with one of the OEMs, and the Navy may opt to manufacture six more submarines under the project.
In a statement, the government said the DAC’s decisions are “in keeping with the mandate given to the Chief of Defence Staff and the newly-constituted Department of Military Affairs to promote use of indigenous hardware by the Services”. This was the first DAC meeting after the post was created, and General Bipin Rawat took charge as CSDS.
Besides the P-75I project, DAC gave its nod for procurement of equipment worth over Rs 5,100 crore from indigenous sources. The projects include sophisticated Electronic Warfare Systems for the Army designed by DRDO and manufactured locally. It approved the prototype testing of trawl assemblies designed by DRDO for T-72 and T-90 tanks “providing an important indigenous de-mining capability to the Army”, the government stated.
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