Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Big 'Make In India' Submarine Hunt 3.0

I was a rookie reporter nine years ago in October 2005 when, in the main ceremonial room of the Indian MoD, then Defence Secretary Shekhar Dutt and then Ambassador of France, the tempestuous Dominique Girard, signed the Indian government's contract for six Scorpene submarines. I had spent just over a year on the defence beat at The Indian Express. The P75 submarine build programme was one of the biggest developing stories at the time. It would be the new UPA government's first defence deal, and the Indian Navy was desperate for an early conclusion. Only two weeks before the signing at the MoD, I and a small group of other reporters were huddled in a small conference room at Delhi's Hyatt Hotel receiving a briefing from Germany's HDW on the Class 214 submarine. We were only journalists, but it was a final effort to pitch the U-boat as a better product than the French offering that would defeat it less than 14 days later.

THYSSENKRUPP HDW CLASS 214 (GERMANY)

Nearly a decade later, the Germans are back in the race. Presumably. (No maker of submarines has officially declared interest in the P75I competition since it was cleared for a 'Make in India' route earlier this month.) Cleared of corruption allegations in the Shishumar-class build programme, the Germans still smart at how they lost the 2005 deal. And they'll be competing to make good. But, in every way -- every possible way -- the P75I programme is likely to be more complicated, contentious and competitive than its predecessor. The Class 214, which squared off against the Scorpene in the final race the last time, could face at least four worthy competitors this time.
All come with their own technical, capability-centric and political pros and cons:

AMUR 1650 (RUSSIA)
NAVANTIA S-80 CLASS (SPAIN)
MHI SŌRYŪ-CLASS (JAPAN)
DCNS SCORPENE+ (FRANCE)
SAAB KOCKUMS GOTLAND CLASS (SWEDEN)
All six submarines will be built in India at an Indian shipyard. By December, the MoD has committed to identifying the public and private shipyards capable of taking on such work. Apart from Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL) and L&T's shipyards (the only two currently engaged in submarine building work), the MoD will size up Cochin Shipyard Ltd, GRSE, GSL, Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL) and Pipavav, among prospective others. For nostalgia, here's the original P75I request for information from years ago, which originally envisaged two submarines built by the OEM and four in an Indian shipyard.

12 comments :

Anonymous said...

India, for long have neglected the coastline as well as the maritime security. The only reason British could rule the world then and America rules now is a strong unchallenged Navy.

Suren Singh Sahni said...

Barracuda the French sub has new disel engine instead of nuclear reactor. It will be perfect for India for gaining more experience in nuclear sub

Deshdaaz said...

"I was a rookie reporter nine years ago [And I am still a rookie!!]"

Just poking fun at you as the line was too cheesy to let it pass by!

Keep crankin out the gud stuff!

Anonymous said...

Seriously Japan will compete in this race.
Scorpene and S-80 are out of race, since S-80 is facing design problem and 30 year program emphasized TOT from 2 different contractors (one should be of western and another russian design) to help IN design its own submarine.

Anonymous said...

Japan US-2 sale is not going forward due to TOT, so how can we expect it to allow TOT for so high technology submarine.

Anonymous said...

DCNS will surely loose due to the problems it created in the Scorpene deal and still continues as it was reported how it was not supplying material for construction of even first submarine and delaying to offer construct additional submarine at its homeport.
"http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/indian-navys-scorpene-project-hit-for-want-of-spare-parts/1/380144.html"

Anonymous said...

For this kind of technology transfers, you have to be up to the task. For the Scorpene deal such shipyard competence problems occured. As well tech transfers procedures that were in the deal have to be respected. DCNS is criticized but I didn't heard of any penalty! Probably because they may not be the one to blame.

Anonymous said...

ITS NOT MAKE IN INDIA, ALL MoD is DOING is ASSEMBLE in INDIA ...... Airbus C295 is example of this effort.

Bureaucracy is still trying to fool people

Anonymous said...

Is it two Indian ship yards or one ? Many reports say two !

Anonymous said...

The project p75i competition itself is confusing. The probable contenders listed above were already the part of previous p75 competition in which scorpene was selected except soryu. And its 100% sure soryu will not be offered due to US & Japan policies. Infact the type214,gotland,amur are of same generation like that of scorpene. In that case follow on scorpene can be manufactured at MDL with greater ease.

For p75i the actual contenders should be type216(hdw), smx ocean(dcns), kss-III project(South Korea). Though they are in design phases but these are next generation ssk with vls, greater endurance & payload and are comparable to ssn. Also as psu's such as mdl & hsl are struggling in making subs, it will be better if these projects goes to pipavav or L&T.

Anonymous said...

NSR says ---

Many issues such as Brahmos, Nirbay, etc launch from the new submarines should be considered...

Japanese Soryu and France Barracud are big enough for ocean going but I am not sure Japanese or France willing to supply any TOTs or MOTs...
The performance of France/DCNS on Scorpene takes it out of the contest...prior performance is very important or else they will never shape up...

I guess that leave Russian Amur or German HDW216 and hope that they will pick private company like L&T to build them...

It looks like everyone promises technology but no one transfers it and on the top they do delay everything...
France already supplied AIP submarines to our rival Pakistan and we need to develop foolproof defense against them...they are very difficult to detect without Magnetic anomaly detectors on P-8I maritime reconnaissance aircrafts...

Vyshnav Prakash said...

What if the Germans decide to contest the more advanced type216 ,they will have more chances of winning the deal..! don't u think?