India’s Project 75 SSKs: Too Late to Save the Submarine Force?
Russia’s Rubin touts progress on vertical launch tubes for their new Amur submarines, show intent to bid on Project 75i.
Feb 6/14: Project 75i. Russia’s Rubin Design Bureau says that they’ve made progress adding vertical launchers to their newest Amur-1650 submarines, in order to incorporate Klub-S (SS-N-27B/30B) missiles that offer various combinations of subsonic and even terminal supersonic anti-ship, land-attack, and anti-submarine variants. Chief designer Igor Molchanov believes that they could install tubes for Brahmos missiles, without compromising the submarine’s capabilities.
He also made a pitch for Rubin’s own AIP solution, which cracks diesel fuel to obtain its hydrogen instead of storing the highly explosive gas on board. The Amurs are expected to compete against France’s Scorpene, Germany’s U214 or stretched U216, and Spain’s S-80. sources: RIA Novosti, “Russia Prepared to Modify Submarines for Indian Tender”.
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 overall 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 beyond India.
The Scorpene Class
India’s Submarine Programs
Schedule, Cost & Plans
Timeline & Industrial Arrangements
The AIP Option
India’s Submarine Plans
India’s Scorpene Project: Contracts & Key Events
2006 – 2008
Appendix A: India’s Current Submarine Force, and Rival Navies
Additional Readings & Sources
Submarines and Platforms
Additional Readings: News and Events
Additional Readings: Rival Navies
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