France’s Naval Group is the front runner as India shortlists potential bidders of project 75I submarine

India’s intention to build domestic submarine manufacturing capabilities including an indigenous air-independent propulsion (AIP) system, sensors, and communication and electronic warfare suites. The selection and transfer of technology of the foreign-made AIP system will depend on the selection of the submarine type. Naval Group is considered to be the current OEM front runner as France can offer 100-percent technology through Naval Group and Thales without the involvement of third-party.

On 21 January 2020, India announced that it had selected two domestic bidders and foreign partners of the domestic bidders for the construction of six diesel-electric submarines with air-independent propulsion technology as part of an effort worth more than $7 billion.

Dubbed as the project 75I, the submarines will be manufactured in India under a Strategic Partnership model, which aims to build indigenous capabilities, a senior ministry official told the Hindu news paper.

Shortlisted bidders:

  • The state-owned Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited
  • Larsen & Toubro — a privately enlisted corporation

Foreign Partners

  • Rubin Design Bureau of Russia – Amur 1650 submarine
  • Naval Group of France – Scorpene 2000 submarine
  • Navantia of Spain – S-80-class submarine
  • ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems of Germany – HDW class 214
  • Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering of South Korea – KSS-III Submarine

“The defence acquisition council approved the shortlisting of Indian companies and potential original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who would collaborate to construct six conventional submarines in India,” the MoD said in a statement.

Other three companies namely, Reliance Naval and Engineering Limited; and a consortium of Hindustan Shipyard Limited and Adani Defence did not meet the technical and financial requirements of the bid. Saab defense and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries withdraw from the bid due to cyber security concern.

The OEMs are free to set up joint ventures or equity partnerships, or make royalty arrangements with Indian prime partners and other domestic suppliers. Under the P75I program, the submarines must be made up of 65 percent indigenous material.

The MoD said any contract between an Indian strategic partner and a foreign OEM must include provisions for the protection of classified information. In addition, the shortlisted OEMs must confirm their willingness to cooperate with the selected Indian company, including life-cycle support and transfer of technology.

BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between India’s Defense Research Development Organization and Russian rocket design bureau NPO Mashinostroyeniya, is also working on BrahMos-NG, for the Indian Navy’s new fleet of Project-75 India (Project-75 I) diesel-electric attack submarines (SSK).

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