India’s Project 75 SSKs: Too Late to Save the Submarine Force?
October 30/15: The Indian Navy kicked off trials of the first of its Scorpene-class submarines on Thursday , with the future INS Kalvari launched from Mumbai shipyards to begin ten months of testing. Six Scorpene (also referred to as Project-75I) boats are due for delivery by 2020, with the Kalvari slated for commissioning next September. Indian state-owned Mazagon Docks Limited partnered with France’s DCNS to develop and build the submarines through a $3.6 billion contract signed in October 2005.
India’s submarine fleet currently consists of 16 boats: 10 Russian SSK Kilo (Sindhugosh) Class, 4 locally built SSK U209 (Shishumar) Class, a leased nuclear-powered Improved Akula Class SSN from Russia (INS Chakra), and its own INS Arihant SSBN. Most of the Kilos have been modernized, but readiness rates for India’s existing submarine fleet sits below 40%, and the U209s will have trouble lasting much beyond 2015. With Pakistan acquiring modern submarines, and Chinese submarine building exploding, expanding India’s submarine fleet became an obvious national priority.
In 2005, India confirmed that it would buy 6 Franco-Spanish Scorpene diesel submarines, with an option for 6 more and extensive technology transfer agreements. Unfortunately, 7 years after that deal was signed, “Project 75” has yet to field a single submarine. A poor Indian procurement approach, and state-run inefficiency, are pushing the country’s entire submarine force toward an aging crisis. This DID FOCUS article covers the Scorpene deal and its structure, adds key contracts and new developments, and offers insights into the larger naval picture within and beyond India.
The Scorpene Class
India’s Submarine Programs
Project 75: Schedule, Cost & Plans
Project 75: Industrial
The AIP Option
Sub-Par: India’s Underwater Plans & Realities
India’s Scorpene Project: Contracts & Key Events
2006 – 2008
Appendix A: India’s Current Submarine Force, and Rival Navies
Additional Readings & Sources
Background: India’s Submarines
Background: Related Technologies
Additional Readings: News and Events
Additional Readings: Rival Navies
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