India’s Project 75 SSKs: Too Late to Save the Submarine Force?
DAC clears Project 75i, but conditions set by India’s political class have cut the throat of their future submarine force structure.
Oct 24/14: Project 75i. India’s top-level Defence Acquisition Council clears INR 900 billion in acquisitions, including INR 530 billion for Project 75i to build 6 AIP submarines in India. The government intends to identify capable shipyards for the foreign partnership within the next 2 months, from among 7 major shipyards (4 of which are state-owned).
Wouldn’t it be better to have the outside partners identify their preferred shipyards, since their primary incentive is directed toward contract performance rather than the results of political lobbying? One might add that if the chosen submarine vendor ends up disagreeing with India’s shipyard choice, it’s only going to prolong negotiations whose late timing and contract structure already guarantee a force crisis for India’s submarine fleet.
Other DAC clearances today include 2 SDV underwater commando delivery vehicles; up to INR 32 billion to buy and license-build about 300 Spike family launcher systems and 8,000 missiles; INR 20 billion to have the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board build about 360 more BMP-2 tracked IFVs under license; and INR 18.5 billion for 12 more license-built Do-228NG short-range transport and maritime surveillance aircraft from HAL. Sources: NDTV, “6 Made-in-India Submarines for Navy for 53,000 Crores” | IANS, “Defence ministry clears Israeli anti-tank missile, six submarines”.
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
Fill in the secure form below to activate your subscription right away (or pick another plan)