According to Amit Chanda, Nikkei Asian Review writer, India received three more French fighter jets on Wednesday, and a deal for French submarines might not be far behind as the European and South Asian nations find they share a commitment to Indian Ocean security.
The submarines would come from French shipbuilder Naval Group, which «will formulate an offer that goes very far in the Make in India direction», said a source familiar with the company’s preparation for the submarine procurement tender under the Indian Navy’s P75I category.
The source spoke of talks between French Defense Minister Florence Parly and her Indian counterpart, Rajnath Singh, in September. The meeting, in New Delhi, covered Indo-French defense cooperation and procurement contracts, including «ongoing ones as well as possible future prospects», the source said. «One of these is the P75I submarines tender».
The tender is to build six stealth submarines with air-independent propulsion technology that would have a longer submerged range than subs already being shipped to the Indian Navy.
The deal, expected to be finalized sometime next year, is valued at 420 billion rupees ($5.6 billion), according to Harsh V Pant, chief of the Strategic Studies Programme, Observer Research Foundation.
Naval Group is currently working with India’s state-owned Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders to deliver six Kalvari submarines that are valued at a combined 230 billion rupees ($3.13 billion). Two of these have already been launched, two are undergoing sea trials and two are under construction.
According to Poder Naval, the submarine Riachuelo (S40), the first of four S-BR (modified Scorpène class) diesel-electric attack submarines of the Submarine Development Program (Prosub), started her sea trials on September 25, 2019.
Sea trials are scheduled to last until the first half of 2020, while boat’s commissioning is scheduled for October 2020.
Riachuelo (S40) was launched at a ceremony held at the Itaguaí Naval Complex on December 14, 2018.
A 533-mm heavy F21 torpedo from the Naval Group and a test Exocet SM39 Block 2 Mod 2 anti-ship missile are expected to be launched during the Riachuelo sea trials, the Navy said.
The Riachuelo will be followed by three more submarines: the Humaitá (S41), scheduled for launch in 2020, the Tonelero (S42) in 2021 and the Angostura (S43) in 2022.
According to Financial Express Online, INS Vela (S40), Indian Navy’s 4th Scorpene-class submarine, launched! In a boost to the Indian Navy’s underwater capabilities, INS Vela (S40), a Scorpene-class submarine was rolled out in the waters on Monday in the presence of the Defence Secretary Production.
This is the fourth submarine in the series of the six submarines being built at Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL), Mumbai under Project 75. The Scorpene-class submarine in the Indian Navy has been termed as the Kalvari-class.
The submarine after completing its out fittings at the dock based on the ocean tide was launched for extensive trials.
At the MDL, the balance two submarines INS Vagir (S41) and INS Vagsheer (S43) are in the advance stages of construction on the assembly line. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has also approved the acquisition of more than 100 heavyweight torpedoes to be equipped on six Scorpene-class submarines.
What is INS Vela (S40) submarine?
INS Vela (S40) is the fourth in the series of the six Scorpene class submarines being constructed at the Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL) in Mumbai. The out fittings on the submarine have been completed at MDL as per the contract inked between DCNS (now known as Naval Group) of France and MDL as part of Project 75.
Project 75 is already witnessing delays. Out of the six submarines under Project 75, INS Kalvari (S23) has been commissioned in Indian Navy last December. Both INS Khanderi (S22) and INS Karanj (S21) is likely to be commissioned in the Indian Navy. INS Vagir (S41) and INS Vagsheer (S43) are already in the «advanced stages of manufacturing».
As per the contract French Company DCNS (now Naval Group) and the MDL had inked in 2005, the $3.75 billion agreement for the licensed production of six submarines under Project-75 for the Indian Navy and the French Company had decided to transfer technology and jointly build in India. The contract is expected to be completed by next year.
Two other submarines INS Khanderi (S22) and INS Karanj (S21) built at MDL are in line to be commissioned in the Indian Navy. According to senior naval officers INS Khanderi (S22) has completed all trials and is in the final stages of acceptance. According to the 30-year submarine building plan approved in 1999, the Indian Navy needs at least 24 submarines to meet the growing presence of the Chinese presence in the waters.
The Scorpene class submarines which have the capability to be operational in any theatre also have the capability of undertaking different types of missions, which include anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, mine laying and area surveillance. They have top end stealth features which includes advanced acoustic silencing techniques, low radiated noise levels, hydro-dynamically optimised shape and the ability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision-guided weapons.
The Indian Navy is currently operating 4 German HDW-class and 9 Russian Kilo-class submarines. In 2000 July, it had inducted a conventional diesel-electric submarine, INS Sindhushastra (S65), procured from Russia.
On 31 January 2018, in presence of Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC, and CMD MDL Commodore Rakesh Anand (IN Retd.), INS Karanj (S23), the third of P75 Scorpene-class submarine was launched at a colorful ceremony by Smt Reena Lanba.
After the successful commissioning of INS Kalvari (S21) on 14 December 2017, this launch highlights the remarkable success of indigenous submarines totally built by Indian shipyard Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) through technology transfer and partnership with Naval Group, in line with Indian Government’s «Make in India» policy.
Post this launch of Karanj, the completion of setting-to-work will be undertaken by the trained and skilled teams of MDL and thereafter the sea trials will commence. The second boat INS Khanderi (S22) is already undergoing sea trials and will be commissioned in coming months. All these boats have been fitted with critical equipment, built in India by qualified and highly trained industrial MSMEs, which forms the sound base of submarine building ecosystem of India.
While attending the event at Mumbai, Mr. Alain Guillou, Senior Executive Vice President, Naval Group said: «This is a remarkable feat achieved by India, and MDL is indeed grown to be among the rarest of shipyards around the world to have mastered such unique competence of submarine building. We are glad to partner with such a shipyard, which can boast of competence and infrastructure which allows them to build 12 submarines at a time, thus proving an industrial marvel and an asset for Indian Navy and Indian government».
The Scorpene, a modern, high-performant, and most stealthy submarine
The Scorpene is a 2000-tons conventional-propulsion submarine designed and developed by Naval Group for all types of mission, such as surface vessel warfare, anti-submarine warfare, long-range strikes, special operations or intelligence gathering. Extremely stealthy and fast, it has a level of operating automation that allows a limited number of crew members, which reduces its operating costs significantly. Its combat edge is highlighted by the fact that it has 6 weapon launching tubes, 18 weapons (torpedoes, missiles, mines).
With 14 submarines sold internationally by Naval Group, the Scorpene is an essential reference product in the area of conventional attack submarines (SSK) for navies across the globe. The product is easily adapted for improvements requested by any naval customers. The progressive improvement through dedicated and experienced designers of Naval Group ensures these seamless advances and modern technology integrations.
INS Khanderi (S51), the second of the six Scorpene class submarines being built in India at Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), sailed out on 01 June 2017 from Mumbai harbour for her maiden sea sortie. It was also the first major trial for her propulsion plant and a very important milestone in the construction programme.
The successful trial moved the submarine a significant step closer to her induction into the Indian Navy later this year. She will now be put through her paces via a rigorous set of trials, which are designed to test her operating envelop to the maximum.
The first Scorpene, INS Kalvari (S50), is presently being readied for delivery in July/August this year, after having been put through a grueling set of trials over the past one year, including successful live missile and torpedo firings.
Named after ferocious deep-sea predators, the Scorpenes, which operate very silently and are capable of multifarious roles, will add teeth to the might of the Indian Navy by strengthening its crucial Submarine Arm.