India’s Project 75 SSKs: Too Late to Save the Submarine Force?
May 4/15: The Indian-manufactured INS Arihant nuclear SSBN is progressing well with sea trials, according to the Chief of the Indian Navy. Launched in 2009, the sub’s reactor went critical in August 2013 and is thought to have begun shakedown voyages from March last year. Based on the Russian Akula-1 design, the INS Arihant is India’s first indigenously-manufactured nuclear sub and a critical component of the country’s pursuit of a nuclear triad capability. In related news, the Indian MoD has restricted all future shipbuilding to domestic yards, with private shipyards having a potential workload of $3.2 billion over the next fifteen years.
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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