India’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) on June 20 has sent ‘Requests for Expression of Interest’ (REoIs) to local shipyards inviting them to participate in the ambitious and long-deferred Project-75 India (Project-75 I) that aims to domestically construct six diesel-electric attack submarines equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems for the Indian Navy.
The shipyards have two months to respond to the REoI. Shortlisted shipyards will be designated Strategic Partners (SPs) under the MoD’s strategic partnership (SP) model within the framework of the Defense Procurement Procedure 2016 that aims behind to boost the manufacturing of indigenous military hardware as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” policy.
Project-75I is the second project after the procurement of 111 armed light naval utility helicopters (NUH) and 24 naval multirole helicopters (NMRH), under the MoD’s SP model. The Defense Acquisition Council, the Indian MoD’s principal procurement body chaired by the country’s defense minister, has approved the procurement of the six new SSKs in January of this year. Notably, the Project 75-I acquisition program was first approved by the MoD already in November 2007.
Once selected, the SPs will partner with an international ship maker, referred to as the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), in the construction of the boats. OEMs have now two months to respond.
“The Indian companies would be shortlisted based on their capability for integration of system of systems, expertise in shipbuilding domain and the financial strength,” the MoD said in the recent statement. “The OEMs would be shortlisted primarily based on their submarine design meeting the Indian Navy’s Qualitative Requirements and qualifying the Transfer of Technology and Indigenous Content (IC) criteria.”
International bidders for the new contract will include Naval Group (France), Kockums (Sweden), Rubin Design Bureau (Russia), and Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (Germany) following a request for information (RFI) issued for P-75I in July 2017.
“The SPs in collaboration with OEMs have been mandated to set up dedicated manufacturing lines for these submarines in India and make India the global hub for submarine design and production,” according to the MoD. “All six submarines under this project will be built in India by the selected Indian Strategic Partner in collaboration with the selected OEM.”
The total contract value is estimated at around $6 billion.
The Indian Navy will also have the option to manufacture six more SSKs under Project 75-I, according to the MoD. A previous acquisition program, Project-75, saw the award of a $4.16 billion contract by the Indian government to French submarine maker Naval Group to build six SSKs in cooperation with Indian shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) by 2022. To date, one out of six Scorpene-class (Kalvari-class) SSKs has entered service with the Navy.