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Salvaging sinking submarine projects

Discussion in 'Indian Navy' started by Osiris, Aug 31, 2010.

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  1. Osiris

    Osiris Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    A far-reaching decision by the Ministry of Defence will come as a jolt for domestic shipbuilders in the private sector seeking to participate in India's submarine programme.

    Top sources in the ministry have told Business Standard that its apex defence acquisition council has decided to exclude Indian private shipyards from the construction of six submarines for the Indian Navy under Project 75I.

    Instead, the first two submarines will be built at a foreign shipyard.

    Project 75I initially envisaged all six submarines to be built in India. The MoD-owned Mazagon Dock Limited, Mumbai, was to build three; Hindustan Shipyard Limited -- recently acquired by the MoD from the Ministry of Shipping -- would build one; while Indian private sector shipyards L&T and Pipavav would compete to build two.

    However, the navy's insistence on having the first two submarines built abroad has torpedoed the private sector shipbuilders out of the picture.

    The navy's decision, explained a senior admiral on condition of anonymity, stems from delays that have been endemic to indigenous submarine construction. India bought four HDW submarines in the 1980s.

    HDW's shipyard in Germany built two of them in just 56 months each. In contrast, Mazagon Dock took 98 months and 116 months to build the remaining two. Mazagon Dock is also running 30 months late in delivering the first of six Scorpene submarines that it was contracted to build under Project 75.

    "At least two submarines will come in quickly by building them abroad," said the admiral.

    "We are desperately short of submarines." A performance audit of the navy by the Comptroller and Auditor General has documented that just seven or eight of India's 15 submarines are operational at any given time against a projected requirement of at least 24.

    Yet, curiously, despite the dismal track record of Mazagon Dock, the defence acquisition council has decided to hand it a prime role in Project 75I as well.

    While the cost of Project 75I is still not known, it will substantially exceed the Rs 23,562 crore that India paid French companies Armaris and DCNS for Project 75, since building two submarines abroad will inflate the cost.

    Furthermore, that decision will require fresh sanction from the Cabinet Committee on Security -- typically involving a 12-24-month delay -- since the current sanction mandates that all the submarines must be built in India.

    'India is desperately short of submarines' - Full News
     
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